A Christmas Carol

Is there any social-politic background?

Is there actually any social-politic background found, related to the setting?

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Gradesaver details two themes that fit the above description:

Critique of Victorian society

Dickens blames the huge class stratification of Victorian England on the selfishness of the rich and, implicitly, on the Poor Laws that keep down the underclass. Scrooge is the obvious symbol of the greedy Victorian rich, while the Cratchits represent the working poor. But Dickens goes beyond sentimental portraits and reveals the underbelly of the city, notably in Stave Four. Even in the scene of the thieving workers divvying up the dead Scrooge's possessions, the accountability for their actions is put on Scrooge‹had he not been such a miser, they would not have resorted to stealing from him. When the children of Ignorance and Want crawl out from under the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present, the ghost sends a message to Scrooge, and the same is given to the Victorian reader: to help out those in Want, and beware of Ignorance in oneself and others.

Capitalist time and epiphanies

At the beginning of the novella, Scrooge seems aware of only the present tense, the tense of capitalism. The now is the time to make or lose money, and the past and future exist only to serve the present. Dickens's attention to clocks and bells reinforces Scrooge's mania with time.

However, Scrooge is redeemed when he learns to integrate the past, present, and future into his worldview. He steps out of the capitalist obsession with the present tense and into a timeless framework in which qualities like generosity and love cannot be quantified. His appreciation of the three tenses also comes in one fell swoop, overnight, and suggests that the epiphany, the sudden revelation of a profound meaning in life, encapsulates all three tenses.