'A christmas carol'Watch this thread
how does dickens present an angry message about society in 'a Christmas carol' from the end of stave three to the end of stave 4
'The end of stave three' is just shouting out for you to talk about the two children 'ignorance' and 'want'. And stave four has loads to do with how people react to Scrooge's death.
Firstly, Ignorance and Want are the result of society, "They are Man's". They are allegories of two social problems at the time (Ignorance and Want) and present these in their horrific human forms.
Their awful description, "wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable" and "yellow (ill), meagre (thin), ragged, scowling, wolfish" show how the Victorian society at the time, the same society that Dickens aimed to change with this novella, had created ugly and terrible children; this is the result of how bad everything was at the time (eg. children working in chimneys, the poor law, treadmill, workhouses and prisons). Dickens therefore uses these 'monsters half so horrible and dread' that physically cause Scrooge to back away ("Scrooge started back, appalled") to show how messed up society was to allow for the want (or need) of the poor to exist (ie. they need basic things to live) and the ignorance of the wealthy and upper-classes that should have helped the poor.
Moreover, the fact that they're children elicits the reader's sympathy as they're just children, "where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand (that of the upper-classes who are the reason for these abominations), like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds." This language is violent and personifies poverty as a whole as both children are allegories, meaning that poverty is the reason both children exist (the terrible ignorance from the rich is also from the fact that poverty exists), but understand that the rich are also the reason FOR the poverty, they're the ones that have ruined the children's lives.
The second reason why these two problems are shown as children is that Dickens was trying to show the reader that these children, within those terrible conditions, will grow up and have children who will also go through the same thing, again and again and the cycle repeats. Poverty creates a cycle, it's a trap. It's not just for a singular generation, it will continue unless change is initiated, unless people back then began to redeem themselves and end the cycle. That's the entire point of the entire novella. Dickens therefore had to present an image of the wealthy that made them feel responsible but also that they could redeem themselves and correct these past mistakes, as Scrooge mentioned in his promise later on at the end of stave four: "Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!" (ps. this is where I've kinda made up my own interpretation, idk if it's correct but even though Scrooge is saying this probably literally as he's next to a plaque on the ground with his name on it in a graveyard, I like to think of it as he wants to correct his past mistakes as if he's scrubbing away his graffiti to make himself a better man). Additionally, Dickens wouldn't have gone as far as he probably wanted to, to describe how disgusting he felt the wealthy were as to not anger them all that much as they would have been the only ones reading the novella at the time (the poor was illiterate and was working, not reading fiction).
So to begin your essay, definitely mention the two children, Ignorance and Want, and how they're allegories, and how they're presented (awful and as children).
The REST of your essay will include bits from the two sections of stave four! Section A (unofficially, ie. this book wasn't initially split into sections so don't mention 'section a', etc, in your essay, just say like 'at the beginning of stave four', etc.) will include how people reacted to Scrooges death. Section B (again, just say 'at the end' or 'middle' etc.) will include how Tiny Tim died because of Bob's low wages (poor people can't afford medicine). However, Tiny Tim's death, in my opinion, has less of a message about society.
Ahh! So... (quickly). Scrooge doesn't realise he's dead for a while, this tells us that there really isn't much of an impact from his death (exception coming later). This reiterates his misanthropic character, he's selfish and 'tight-fisted', he's not relied upon or wanted, etc, and the only person who really relies upon him is Bob Cratchit, who's affected in the LONG run, but we'll talk about that later.
We see that wealthy men, at the London Stock Exchange, or 'Change', joke about Scrooge's death. These men are also the type of men that Dickens wanted to change. The portly gentlemen (fat but generous) and Fezziwig (fat but fun and also generous) are different from these men, one is described as 'a great fat man with a monstrous chin', and another is 'a red-faced gentlemen' (drinks too much) who is also described with a 'pendulous excrescence on his nose' (ew?). These are clearly ugly men to imagine and laugh about a death of a colleague, they also yawn ('yawning again') which shows that they don't have sympathy. Moreover two other men, who Scrooge had made sure to be known to as he thought they were important, mentioned Scrooge's death but immediately moved the topic to weather before departing really speedily. Scrooge cared about these business people, but they didn't care about him. No one, so far, did. We then see people who are actually emotionally touched by his death, which is a family who's debt, owed to Scrooge, would have been transferred to another creditor, which basically means they're happy and relieved as they have more time now to collect the money to pay the debt (as the transferring of the debt would have taken time). Dickens uses this part of stave four to basically say, the wealthy are selfish and unsympathetic and emotionless, LIKE Scrooge at the beginning of the Novella, and that the poor are in a bad positions and are really touched and thankful when they're given more slack, ie. here they have more time to collect debt where it would have been a real pressure to do so. Also you could add about how Scrooge's servants also sell his stuff, they probably didn't get paid enough.
Finally (super speedy now), Tiny Tim probs had a treatable condition but obviously he died as Bob wasn't paid enough by Scrooge. The Cratchits, the embodiment of the poor, grieve but have each other, they love each other, something Scrooge, the embodiment of the wealthy, doesn't have. That's kinda how society is presented here. Scrooge could have helped Tiny Tim, by just paying Bob a little more, but was so selfish he didn't and therefore he's the reason Tiny Tim passed away. Dickens is therefore presenting society having a massive gap, with the wealthy being just cruel and emotionless.
I'm not the best at literature, but got carried away writing this. Was going to delete it as it's probs not gonna be of much use to you and the second half of my explanations are sloppy because I'm tired but here you go. Have fun reading it (could probably just re-read the entire novella in the same time).