Charles Dickens was a British novelist, journalist, editor, illustrator and social commentator who wrote such beloved classic novels as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.
Dickens is remembered as one of the most important and influential writers of the 19th century. Among his accomplishments, he has been lauded for providing a stark portrait of the Victorian-era underclass, helping to bring about social change.
Plot of A Christmas Carol
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge makes his clerk, Bob Cratchit, work in the cold. He refuses an invitation to his nephew Fred's Christmas party and will not give money to the charity collectors.
At home he is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Marley. The Ghost of Christmas Past wakes Scrooge and shows him moments from his childhood, his apprenticeship and his failed engagement.
The Ghost of Christmas Present takes him to the Cratchit's home, where he is saddened by the ill, but kind, Tiny Tim. He is also shown how Fred celebrates Christmas with friends and how others celebrate Christmas together. The final ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who terrifies Scrooge with visions of his death.
Scrooge awakes on Christmas Day and is delighted to find he has the chance to repent of his miserly ways. He buys a turkey for the Cratchits and attends his nephew's party.
Scrooge becomes like a second father to Tiny Tim and gains a reputation for knowing how to celebrate Christmas.
Gothic and A Christmas Carol
If we want to find the Gothic in the novel, we should start with Dickens’ finest creation, that is Scrooge. He kind of fits into the archetypal Gothic patriarch mould, a figure that is tyrannical, uncompromising and relentless.
He squeezes all the money he can out of everyone he can, he seeks to control Bob Cratchit, refusing to let him put more coal on the fire, and is unforgiving towards the plight of all the poor and needy, thinking they should pop their clogs to ‘decrease the surplus population.’
In Carol, the Gothic Child characters assist in the reformation of Scrooge through the embodiment and manipulation of well-known elements of the gothic genre such as the uncanny, the abhuman body, dismantled binaries, and monstrosity.
Structure and Time Consciousness
A Christmas Carol is a brilliant narrative success, and was a huge commercial coup. It forged the association between Christmas and ghost stories, and led Dickens to write a series of such tales for Christmas. It also showed how the genre worked best within limitations of time and length, so that the short story and the novella were best suited to ghostly tales. Dickens had set a new literary fashion in motion.
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