Miller offers a stylistic analysis of A Christmas Carol.]
Through many a vigorous search, we have found that there are very limited reviews and criticisms that reflect a negative perspective on A Christmas Carol. It is a beloved classic that doesn’t seem to lose any magic or momentum as the years progress. However, a few were found that gave some slight criticism to the novel (although they usually followed or were followed by praise). Edgar Johnson, once a Dickens biographer, stated that Dickens, “leaves his surface so entirely clear and the behavior of his characters so plain that they do not puzzle us into groping for gnomic meanings…surely all the world knows that Dickens is never profound?” (Gold 153) This is a general statement on Dickens’ work overall, but can, therefore, be applied to A Christmas Carol. Johnson is claiming that Dickens’ characters are easy to interpret, without much complication. This makes them predictable and less meaningful.
GCSE English Literature | Dickens A Christmas Carol language
Group five makes a point very similar to our own that, although Dickens uses Christian values and morals throughout this fantastical tale, Dickens is not necessarily saying that Christianity is the only way to be a virtuous and moral person. Some perhaps may argue that Scrooge’s change of heart is an allusion to him becoming a Christian, however, it seems the textual evidence within “A Christmas Carol” points to a much wider perspective than being a mere Christian conversion story.
A Christmas Carol is rife with “before and after” moments, sown masterfully in the First Act, and brought to fruition throughout the Second Act, as Scrooge joyfully reencounters the people he knows and whom he treated poorly in the beginning.
A Christmas Carol Study Guide | GradeSaver
Because Dickens was writing and publishing during his lifetime, we can assume that he was not only aware of the fact that he had an audience, but also that he had to respond to it. Dickens knew that most English people were some type of Christian, so he frames the message of within a Christian holiday: Christmas. By appealing to them in such a way, he is reaching the most people he can with language that he knows they will understand. He may even be using Scrooge as a character that some readers can relate to. There are no perfect people, but certainly there are some who would understand where Scrooge is coming from when he tells his nephew, “Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine!” (16). And if they align themselves more with Scrooge’s cheerful nephew, then they might even be able to point out some Scrooges in their own lives.
A Christmas Carol study guide ..
Group 1 focuses on the idea that Dickens uses non-denominational characters from across the moral spectrum to prove that Christianity does not have a monopoly on moral righteousness.
We agree with the idea that it is not a conversion narrative, but disagree with the assertion that Dickens uses Christian morals to get his point across.
The catalyst to Scrooge’s moral change is the visitation by the ghosts. The only connection that the ghosts have to Christian ideology is their claim that the represent Christmas. Their words and visions do not mirror Christian teachings in any way: the punishment shown for Scrooge’s wicked ways is not a Christian Hell, but rather a pagan Limbo. They do not claim that changing his ways will make his the kingdom of Heaven, instead simply saying that people might like him more if he weren’t such a jerk all the time.
That the ideals the ghosts propone line up with the Christian ideal of charity is, in terms of the narrative, basically no more than a coincidence. The spirits do not have any connection to the church or to Christianity outside of the time of year that they represent, and even that is shaky as Christmas is an adaptation of the Roman celebration of Saturnalia.