The infamous novel, A Christmas Carol is a widely read book that was set during the Victorian era and sold about 6,000 copies; this novel shows the jubilance and warmth of Christmas time but additionally brings attention to the upsetting reality that people faced during the Victorian era. This novel is about an affluent and nescient man named Ebenezer Scrooge, who with the avail of three spirits, learns the reality and hardships of society. Not only does this book send a great message about giving and enjoying the little things in life, but it also shows a broader aspect of what goes on in society. As stated before, Dickens’s story is set during the Victorian era which was the reign of Queen Victoria. Although it was a calm and flourishing era, there were some things that needed to be given more attention. The primary classes of this era included the Upper class, Middle class, and lower class. During this era, the poor were greatly affected, so the poor and puerile orphans relied on donations to survive the Victorian England Convivial Hierarchy. The Christmas Carol indeed sends out the message of being grateful and living life to the fullest, but the concrete message that Dickens endeavors to send out is to convey that the issues of the British Empire are due to the conditions in which the working classes lived in and the incognizance of the upper-class and wanted to draw the upper-classes attention to their plight.
To begin with, Charles Dickens presents his critique on society by exhibiting the mindset that the upper- class has towards the lower-class, and their insensitivity towards the situations that the lower-class face, daily because of the actions of the upper-class. To support this, when two charity collectors came to Scrooge’s house to ask for money for the poor he states, “Are there no prisons?’ asked Scrooge… I help to support the establishments I have mentioned–they cost enough, and those who are badly off must go there. ‘Many can’t go there, and many would rather die.’ ‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population,” (Dickens, 1843, pp. 5-6). This exhibits Ebenezer Scrooge’s way of thinking and how insignificant he thinks the wellbeing of the lower-class is. Scrooge is cruel and considers that the establishments he supports are more important than homeless centers and places for the poor to live. He also has a mindset that rather than increasing the population, lower-class people are better off dying. Scrooge’s mentality connects to the Victorian era because during that time, the lower-class were left to fend for themselves and were ignored by the upper-class. Scrooge’s statement additionally that Scrooge believes that if a person has to rely on others and cannot work to survive then he is insignificant and left to rot. Readers can predict the mentality of the upper-class towards the lower-class due to Scrooge’s behavior. Furthermore, the Ghost of Christmas Present introduces two characters to Scrooge that help him see the plight of the poor. He says “… and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom unless the writing is erased,” (Dickens, 1843, p. 49). Ignorance and Want are portrayed as the children of mankind, therefore, they represent the ugly characteristics that mankind carries with them which ultimately creates a divided system between the upper and lower class. These attributes make it hard for things to change as it has become apart of the upper-class’ daily lifestyle and they hold more power in society so the lower-class can’t do anything to amend it. Adding on, the two kids represent the cycle of poverty within society. Which concludes that the reason why these two children are in this situation is because of the ignorance of the upper-class. With these two quotes, the readers can understand that Charles Dickens presents his critique on society by revealing the mindsets of the wealthy people and their ignorance towards the lower-class. Scrooge is very wealthy, but he doesn’t share his wealth with the poor because he believes that since they cannot earn for themselves they do not have the right to live anyways. Furthermore, Dickens shows that poverty has been an issue in the society for many years and many lower-class people have been affected by it. Dickens indicates that the ugly traits that mankind carries make it hard for things to change as it has become apart of the upper-class’ daily lifestyle they hold more power in society so the lower-class can’t do anything to amend it. Therefore, the essential message that Dickens is trying to portray is that the upper-class fails to do their responsibilities as citizens because of their fixed mindset and ignorance for the poor.
Posterior, Charles Dickens portrays his critique on society by divulging the mindset that the upper- class has regarding the lower-class and their callousness towards the situations that the lower-class face, daily because of the demeanor of the upper-class. In the text, Scrooge taunts Bob Cratchit for being poor and celebrating Christmas. Scrooge says, “ There’s another fellow, muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas,” (Dickens, 1843, p.5). This statement illustrates that despite working for such a wealthy man, Bob doesn’t make nearly enough money and that Scrooge is selfish and stingy even when it comes to paying his worker. The readers discover another mindset that Scrooge has and readers understand that Scrooge doesn’t want people to waste their time celebrating useless holidays and spending money. He addedly deems that people should keep working because to him the most vital thing in one’s life is money. Supplementarily, to support the claim when Bob Cratchit comes home after “I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. But you’ll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child!’ cried Bob. ‘My little child!” (Dickens, 1843, p. 60). Bob Cratchit’s statement supports the claim because it shows that because of Scrooge’s selfishness and ignorance towards his employee’s family and their wellbeing Tiny Tim wasn’t able to be cured and after seeing that Tiny Tim dies, Scrooge realizes that he was wrong for his ignorance. Which conveys the readers that there is a lot of deaths in the lower-class because of the upper-class’s negligence as a citizen. Hereby, the claim is supported because Scrooge was very ignorant of Bob Cratchit and his family’s conditions. Scrooge had a mindset that if people couldn’t work and make money themselves it isn’t important if they live or die, however, after seeing Tim’s death he realized how wrong he was. He realized that everyone is human and should live happily.
Third of all, Charles Dickens expresses his criticism of society by demonstrating the attitude of the upper class towards the lower class and their insensitivity to the circumstances encountered by the lower class daily due to the actions of the upper class. In the book after Scrooge dies, his housekeeper is heartless when it comes to his death and Dickens states “Ha, ha! Laughed the same women… when he was dead. Ha, ha, ha!” (Dickens, 1843, p.60). Due to what the woman says, readers comprehend that no one cared and valued Scrooge despite him having so much wealth. Scrooge withal is being treated the way that he treated others; he ignored the suffering of people and only cared about money. After his death, all people care about is the money that he left behind. Therefore, Dickens is using this situation to show that the upper class disregards the lower class in the society and are parsimonious when it comes to aiding the less fortunate. Continuing, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the Cratchet’s Christmas dinner. Where Dickens inputs “…at last dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard cup without a handle,” (Dickens, 1843, p. 37). The Cratchit family dinner illustrates the importance of people despite their social status. Utilizing the textual evidence, Dickens implies that people can enjoy life without heaps of money in their bank account. The Cratchit family is living in poverty and despite this, they host dinner for their family on Christmas. Whereas, Scrooge has a great deal of money but he doesn’t consider the happiness of others nonetheless his own family. Meanwhile, Scrooge perceives everything for granted, and is highly unappreciative of the things in his life. Scrooge isn’t very grateful or obliged and doesn’t believe in living his life to the fullest.
Overall, The Christmas Carol signifies the message of being thankful and living life to the fullest. Nonetheless, the primary cause was to substantiate that the British Empire’s shortcomings during the Victorian era were due to the circumstances in which the working classes lived, the upper class’s indifference and wanted to draw the upper class’s attention to their predicament. Dickens portrays Scrooge’s character as a selfish and oblivious character who spends his life making money. Scrooge doesn’t care for the lower class who struggle and considers them to be worthless if they cannot earn for themselves. Even during Dickens’s childhood, he faced rough circumstances due to the ignorance of the wealthy people in society. He went through many challenges and because of society’s irresponsibility, he had to temporarily leave his education and work to support his family. Charles Dickens represents his critique on society by exhibiting the mindset that the upper- class has towards the lower-class, and their insensitivity towards the situations that the lower-class face, daily because of the actions of the upper-class.