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A Christmas Carol Background information on the author and novel.

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Presentation on theme: "A Christmas Carol Background information on the author and novel."— Presentation transcript:


2 A Christmas Carol Background information on the author and novel

3 Preface I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. Their faithful Friend and Servant, C.D. December, 1843.

4 Background Dickens began writing his "Little Carol" in October, 1843, finishing it by the end of November in time to be published for Christmas, with illustrations by John Leech. Feuding with his publishers, Dickens financed the publishing of the book himself, ordering lavish binding, golden edging, and hand-colored illustrations and then setting the price at 5 shillings so that everyone could afford it. This combination resulted in disappointingly low profits despite high sales. In the first few days of its release the book sold six thousand copies and its popularity continued to grow.

5 About the Author His full name is Charles John Huffam Dickens, born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth England to John and Elizabeth Dickens. He attended approx. one year at William Giles' school in Chatham, Kent (age 9-11); nearly three years Wellington House Academy in London (age ), and beyond this, he was largely self-educated. He was married to Catherine Hogarth Dickens on April 2, 1836, but they separated in He had 10 children: Charley, Mamie, Katie, Walter, Frank, Alfred Tennyson, Sydney, Harry, Adora, and Florn. He died on June 9, 1870 of a stroke. He is buried at Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey in London.

6 Themes in Writing A major theme of Dickens novels is the suffering of the poor. This is most likely due to the following event in his own life: When he was twelve, his father was arrested and taken to debtors prison. Dickenss mother moved his seven brothers and sisters into prison with their father, but she arranged for the young Charles to live alone outside the prison and work with other children pasting labels on bottles in a blacking warehouse (blacking was a type of manufactured soot used to make a black pigment for products such as matches or fertilizer). Dickens found the three months he spent apart from his family highly traumatic. Not only was the job itself miserable, but he considered himself too good for it, earning the contempt of the other children. It was here that he learned how miserable the poor were treated during his time.

7 Other Famous Works Oliver Twist Nicholas Nickleby Great Expectations David Copperfield A Tale of Two Cities In addition, Dickens has written countless other works, many of which appeared in weekly parts of magazines.

8 Symbols in A Christmas Carol The title- Dickens saw his tale as one to be heard and shared, as Christmas carols spread joy and bring people together The Staves- part of the musical imagery, each chapter is a stave. A carol is a song of joy or praise. It is often intended to teach something. In this case, the praise is of Christmas and how it is able to make people forget their troubles, and of Scrooge because he changes his ways. A stave, or stanza, is a section of the music where the mood is all the same. At each stave, there is a different mood. This is the case in A Christmas Carol, where each stave has a definite message and mood.

9 Ebenezer Scrooge- the greed of humanity. Scrooge's transformation symbolizes the agility of the human race and its possibility for hope. His name (screw + gouge) means he is hard-hearted. The Counting House- the current greed of society Jacob Marley- his conscience, and the conscience of mankind. His chain- how the acts of our life come back to "haunt us"

10 Fan- the importance of caring and family; Fred symbolizes current family obligations and support, as well as her. Scrooge's Father- regret for past misdeeds and fear of death Belle- love and chances not taken. Fezzywig- the power of employment and goodwill. That is why Scrooge says he has the power to make his employees happy or sad; to make their jobs easy are hard; Scrooge also says that the goodwill he creates cannot be made with money.

11 Bob Cratchit- the plight of the working class. He is also pure good- not hating Scrooge and toasting him for what little he has, he symbolizes gratefulness for what one has. Tiny Tim- the trust and piety as well as the innocence of the poor, weak, incapacitated and ill. The prize goosethe symbol of Christmas and sharing time with family

12 The Weather (cold and foggy)- This could be seen as the reflection of Scrooge's state of mind. Notice the imagery: in the beginning of the book, Cratchit is nearly frozen and shivers constantly in the cold, but is not allowed to put more coal on the fire. Scrooge, on the other hand, does not notice that it is cold. This is a symbol of Scrooge's cold heart. The weather reiterates this point. The warming of his heart is symbolized by his allowing Cratchit to buy another coal scuttle at the end of the book, and the burning off of the fog.

13 The Ghosts Christmas Past- how our experiences make us who we are (that is why he is both a child and an old man- who we are and who we will be as well as who we were). Christmas Present- many opportunities to care for others that surround us that we often miss, and how big the world is- that is why the ghost displays abundance but is also slowly dying. Christmas Yet to Come- our fear of the future and also our control over it- the future is what we make of it, that is why you cannot see the face of the spirit and he is cloaked in black.

14 Dickens uses weather and inanimate objects often to symbolize bigger ideas. Life is given to things like doorknockers, and meaning is given to weather. There is a reason for everything!

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