A Christmas Carol

By Amy Buker A3/B3

"...Some labourers were repairing the gas pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered" (Dickens, Page 17). This quote shows that during the time, the poor could not afford heat or shelter. They often gathered around any small flame they could find during the cold winters. For the majority of the population, this was the only way to survive.
"You might have got a hearse up that staircase" (Dickens, Page 13). Whether he did it on purpose or not, the comparison of a hearse further proves that death was lingering in the air. Instead of saying,"You might have got a litter of puppies up that staircase", Dickens hints at the misery and death that absentmindedly hung on every thought.
"The house fronts looked black enough, and the windows blacker... The sky was gloomy, and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist" (Dickens, Page 68-69). This description of London was not exaggerated at all. Even the "wealthy" lived in dirty houses in an even dirtier city. Those who were not nearly as lucky lived up close to the worst of London.
"The very gold and silver fish… appeared to know there was something going on; and… went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement" (Dickens, Page 50). The extremely wealthy of the town were not nearly as excited about Christmas as the poor. They could afford feasts and gifts every day, so Christmas was nothing special. For the poor, however, it was a grand holiday when everyone could cheer up and open their hearts.
"Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of smell and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth and misery" (Dickens, Page 77). Dickens describes the setting of London several times, constantly proving the filth of the city. Whether rich or poor, the streets were not safe. This was much worse for the poor, because they could not afford houses or shelter.
"A churchyard... walled in by houses; overrun by grass and weeds, the growth of vegetation's death, not life; choked up with too much burying..." (Dickens, Page 90). Death is everywhere in this story; especially in stave four. The description of the churchyard completes the other descriptions of London in that everything is lifeless. The "choked up with too much burying" shows that too many have died in the harsh conditions.
"'Why to a poor one most?' asked Scrooge. 'Because it needs it most'" (Dickens, Page 52). No one was helping the poor in this time; the rich were to stubborn for charity and everyone else was barely getting by as it was. The poor were the most needy, and they didn't just need money. They needed kindness, happiness, and warmth, among other things.
"'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population" (Dickens, Page 9). Scrooge represents all of the bitter rich; they did not care one bit what happened to the poor, unless it affected them or their money. In a way, the rich were killing the poor by keeping them out on the streets and being so stubborn with their money.
"There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavored to diffuse in vain" (Dickens, Page 49). The poor had nothing, and they knew it. Despite this, they did their best to be happy and have things to look forward to. Christmas was an especially cheerful time, with gifts, feasts, and excited hearts.
"He was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset" (Dickens, Page 99). After all of the problems London had been through, they had to realize that success was in more than money. Success was about sharing, and kindness, and the warmth of the heart. Above all, success came from enjoying life, and making sure others enjoyed it as well.
"I will live in the past, the present, and the future" (Dickens, stave 5). Dickens believed that a town could not truly thrive without living in all three tenses. London needed to remember their past, live in the present, and look to the future to get out of the problems they were in.
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