The Symbolism Of Music In Charles Dickens And A Christmas Carol

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Music is a symbol in both “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, and in “The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell. Music becomes a way to showcase that there is a problem within the households of the characters, Ebenezer Scrooge, from “A Christmas Carol,” and Miss Furnivall from “The Old Nurse’s Story”. In both stories the music played, centres on families and is shared through supernatural means. This later highlights the idea that both characters have behaved wrongly towards their families, and have been uncompassionate. While both characters later repent for their behavior, only Scrooge is able to correct his mistakes. Music is shown to be a key component of his sudden epiphany, as he changes his life, after events. In contrast Miss …show more content…
Old Fezziwig allows his employees and young Scrooge to stop work because it is Christmas eve (Dickens 78). In comparison Scrooge wanted his clerk to work Christmas day, calling it “not convenient” and “fair” to pay him for a day he misses (Dickens 62). In contrast old Fezziwig throws a party with “all the young men and women employed in the business,” and a fiddler in attendance (Dickens 79). Music is used as a tool to create atmosphere and connect people at the party, this shown in the way “the great effect of the evening came… [when the fiddler] struck up ‘Sir Roger de Coverley’” (Dickens 80). Once the music started it enabled old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig, and others to dance (Dickens 80). The people are suggested to connect with each other by all participating in dancing and enjoying the music. After witnessing the scene, Scrooge “remember[s] everything, enjoy[s] everything” in the scene, which indicates that the music helped Scrooge to empathize and remember how it felt to be young and employed (Dickens 80). This idea is highlighted when Scrooge states, “[old Fezziwig had] the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome… the happiness he [gave] is quite as great as if it [had] cost a fortune” (Dickens 81). Scrooge is suggested to be enlightened, when he wishes to “say a word or two to [his] clerk”, indicating he feels remorseful and …show more content…
The family is described as “a musical family”, and Scrooge watches them participate in song, as friends and family (Dickens 99). Scrooge’s niece plays a song on the harp, “familiar to [Scrooge’s sister] who fetched Scrooge from the boarding-school”, when he was a child (Dickens 99). The song is indicated to draw out affection in Scrooge, because it reminds Scrooge of his love for his departed sister. After the family stops playing music, Scrooge is said to recall “all the things that the Ghost had shown him came upon his mind”, which were mostly of family scenes (Dickens 99). This indicates that music has helped Scrooge to access memories connected with the scene he has witnessed. Scrooge is then “soften[s] more and more”, indicating the family’s music has also aided him in changing his uncaring, “hard and sharp as flint” exterior (Dickens 57). This change is suggested to be related to family, because Scrooge states that, “if he could have listened to [such music] often, years ago”, Scrooge would have “cultivated the kindness of life for his own happiness with his own hands” (Dickens 99). The “kindness of life” is implied be about the value of family, because Scrooge makes this declaration immediately after witness a scene of touching family togetherness. Therefore music in connection with the ghost’s journey has helped Scrooge learn the value

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