A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens in 1843, became the brightest novel representing old Christmas traditions in Great Britain. This story is very controversial and exciting because it brings people joy, light and kindness. At the same time, the story shows them darkness, coldness and despair. The main character Ebenezer Scrooge is an example of the most wicked and ill-tempered men. Yet, the main point of the story is telling people that even the worst of them have a chance to become better, even though they seem lost and hopeless to everyone. A Christmas Carol also has a peculiarity of representing specific locations of London which can be visited even nowadays.
London of the 19th century, as described by Charles Dickens, differs from London of the present days. In the Victorian Era, Londoners spoke about the North of the city called Camden Town like it was the worse slum in England. That was the place where Scrooge’s downtrodden clerk Bob Cratchit lived. At Dickens’ times, that area really was an extremely poor and repelling place. Dickens describes it as a place full of mud and filth, poor hovels and deep-cart ruts. Nowadays, however, that district of London is filled with colorful markets and noisy bars.
At the beginning of the story, Dickens gets the reader acquainted with the place called the Royal Exchange, the early center of commerce in London. In the story, the name of that place is shortened to “Change” and appears in the opening lines telling that “Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change’ for anything he chose to put his hand to”. Today, that place has turned into a luxurious shopping mall.
The place where Scrooge lived, according to the novel, was very dark and unpleasant. Scrooge had to grope with his hands walking down the street in order to get home. The exact location where he lived is 45 Lime Street which is situated right in the heart of London. Unlike at Dickens’ times, nowadays, this street does not look so gloomy and depressing. On the contrary, it is sunny and bright and does not remind the way it was in the 19th century. Lime Street has changed considerably since 1843 and nowadays, it has nothing in common with that sullen place described by Dickens.
In his tale, Charles Dickens represents London not only by describing specific places, but also by telling about struggles of the working class and superiority of the middle class. In the 19th century London, children mortality rates were very high due to poverty and bad health. Dickens wanted to bring that problem to people’s attention and made Scrooge a representative of middle class people who were preoccupied with profit and financial values rather than with human relationships.
In A Christmas Carol, Dickens shows the Victorian London the way it was. Thus, the story has certain historical value for the reader. During the industrial revolution, the working conditions were poor, and standards of living were low. Dickens stands out against greed and corruption of the rich and defends the rights of the poor. He chose the Christmas time for the story because he wanted to remind people about the magic of Christmas which brought joy even to the poorest of them.
A Christmas Carol
represents London in dark colors and grim images, because Charles Dickens wanted to create the atmosphere of the
Victorian England. That period was characterized by the extreme poverty and terrible living conditions of the working class. The dark image of London refers to the dark times of the industrial revolution and desperate lives of poor people. Dickens describes specific locations of London in order for people to imagine the situation more clearly.
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