Basic explanation of themes in ACC - with quotes


Themes in A Christmas Carol

Social Criticism:

Social Criticism is demonstrated throughout the entirety of Charles Dickens’ novella ‘A Christmas Carol’. He uses his characters to show whats wrong with society. For example, when Scrooge asks the charity collectors ‘are there no prisons?’ Dickens is criticising the Poor Law of 1836 which is where poorer people were encouraged to work in workhouses. This enabled cheap labour and also meant that beggars were off the streets and the cost of helping the poor was also reduced. These workhouses provided very little pay for those in poverty and the working conditions were really bad. This deterred, people from asking for help as the governments would just redirect them to these workhouses. 

He also criticises those in power: the government. This occurs in Stave 1 were Scrooge and Marley are looking outside Scrooges window to all the phantoms that have been punished to live a life in chains and never pass on into the after life. Marley refers to the majority of these phantoms being ‘guilty governments’. These ‘guilty governments’ are being punished as a group for being selfish and failing to help those who need it.This is direct criticism to the government and also political powers such as Thomas Malthus who believed the poor were an inconvenience and we shouldn’t help them. This view was wildly accepted throughout Vitctorian Britain and Dickens intended to change the way that poverty was portrayed to the public.

Treatment of the poor:

Poor people were considered poor for reasons such as spending too much money on alcohol; buying extravagant clothes; being lazy etc and these were the most common ideal towards how poor people got poor. However, this is not correct for every case. This is why Dickens introduced Bob Cratchit and his family. Bob hardworking but severely under paid at only


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