A Christmas Carol - Detailed Notes



Transformation / Redemption

 AQA 2019: Explore how Dickens uses the ghosts to help Scrooge change his behaviour.                                            Extract (Visit of Marley's Ghost)

Relevant Quotes:

  • 'Solitary as an oyster' -> 'His own heart laughed'(Simile + Personification)
  • 'He tried to say 'Humbug' but stopped at the first syllable' (Repetition (of humbug))
  • 'I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy'(List of Similes)
  • 'I am prepared to bear your company and do it with a thankful heart' (Metaphor)
  • 'Spirit... Conduct me where you will... let me profit by it'(CF 'picking a mans pocket'/ 'things in life from which I may have derived good from which I have not profited')
  • 'I hope to live to be another man from what I was'
  • 'I will live in the past, the present, and the future'


  • Redemption ~ Christian Values
  • Moral wealth > Material Wealth

Dickens Message:

  • Its never too late to change
  • Redemption is possible
  • Try to become more charitable

Social Injustice

AQA 2017: Explore how Dickens uses the Cratchits family to show the struggles of the poor.                                      Extract (Cratchit family Christmas)

Relevant Quotes:

  • 'A poor excuse for picking a mans pocket every twenty-fifth of December'(Metaphor (for charity))
  • 'It's enough for a man to know his own business, and not to interfere with other people's' (CF mankind was my business)
  • 'Are there no prisons... Union Workhouses... The Treadmill and Poor Law are in full vigour them'(Context)
  • 'Ragged, Meagre, Scowling, Wolfish' (List of Adjectives)
  • 'Every person has a right to take care of themselves. He always did.'(Scrooges employees at old Joe's)
  • 'Have they no refuge or resource'
  • 'If they would rather die..they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population'


  • Poor law of 1843
  • Treadmill + Union workhouses 
  • Hungry 40's
  • Malthus - no right to be where they are
  • Disraeli - Like two different nations

Dickens Message:

  • Do not be like Scrooge at the start - Wealthy + Miserly
  • Try to give more to charity
  • Poor are dependant on the wealthy

Christmas Spirit

AQA Sample Paper 3: Explore how far Dickens presents Chrismas as a joyful time.                                               Extract (Fezziwigs's Party)

Relevant Quotes:

  • 'A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us'(Christian values)
  • 'He laughed all over himself from his shoes to his organ of benevolence' (Metaphor)
  • 'I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year'(Metaphor)
  • 'If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with


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