Analysis of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol Essay

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Analysis of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens, one of the greatest novelists in the English language, was born in 1812 into a middle-class family of precarious economic status. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office at the time of Dickens's birth; by the time Charles was ten, however, his father was in debtor's prison, a victim of bad luck, mismanagement, and irresponsibility.

In order to help support the family during this time of crisis, young
Dickens went to work in the packing department of a factory that manufactured blacking--a compound of charcoal, soot, sugar, oil, and fat used to polish boots. This was a period of dirty and draining labor which one critic has described as an experience of
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Over the next thirty years he created a vast outpouring of fiction, including Oliver Twist (1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1839),
David Copperfield (1849), Bleak House (1853), A Tale of Two Cities
(1859), and Great Expectations (1861).

A Christmas Carol was published relatively early in his career, appearing in 1843 when Dickens was 31. The tale is one of a series of short stories on a subject that had long preoccupied its author: the importance of celebrating Christmas. One of Dickens's earliest published works was a defense of this holiday against its enemies, both religious (the Puritans), and irreligious (the Utilitarians).
The former objected to the pagan unseemliness of feasting and frolicking in celebration of the birth of Christ. The latter objected to the waste of time and money involved in having fun at all.

Dickens saw in Christmas a moral opportunity, a moment in time occurring each year when the grinding pursuit of wealth and the ruthless competition to succeed might be suspended in favor of kindness and generosity, especially toward the poor. He saw in it a time when the bonds of human solidarity might be renewed under the auspices of the Prince of Peace, and when the unfortunate in particular might be allowed a day of rejoicing at the birth of the poor child in the manger. "All his life," says G.K. Chesterton,
Dickens "defended valiantly the pleasures of the poor. . . ." Dickens

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