Symbolism in a Christmas Carol

Topics: Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol Pages: 3 (1181 words) Published: January 29, 2007
A Christmas Carol—Theme Expressed Through Symbolism

"Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my
business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business."

A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens is a straightforward narrative, which effectively uses symbolism to develop the major theme of the novel, "Mankind is everyone's business." Dickens' careful choice of words demonstrates his excellent use of this literary technique. He begins his use of symbolism with the book's title and carries through to the end of the story. The characters in A Christmas Carol also reflect symbolism. The main character, Scrooge, whose name comes from the words "screw" and "gouge", means hard-hearted. Marley, Scrooge's deceased business partner, represents the conscience of mankind. The three ghosts who visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve stand for memory, charity and the fear of death. By effectively blending symbolism into his characters and various objects within the novel, Dickens reminds his readers of the importance of taking notice of those around them. In the opening Stave of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens describes Scrooge as a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutch, covetous old sinner." Scrooge symbolizes all that dampens the Christmas spirit—greed, selfishness and a lack of consideration for mankind. Dickens clearly shows Scrooge's character when two gentlemen approach him about a donation to help the poor at Christmas. Scrooge insists, "It's not my business. It's enough for a man to understand his own business and not interfere with other people's." The main character's Bah! Humbug! attitude is further seen in his treatment of his one employee, Bob Cratchit. The author characterizes Bob Cratchit as meek and gentle, which sharply contrasts...
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