In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Dickens uses memories from Scrooges childhood to assist him in his transformation throughout the novella. As the Ghost’s take Scrooge on adventures back into his childhood, thoughts charge into his mind that causes abundant feelings of regret and disappointment towards the person he has become today. He is reminded that it’s not too late to revolutionize his ways to improve himself, and comes to the realization that he isn’t content and does wish to persist along a positive path in life rather than the pessimistic course he’s currently resting on.
The way we look at people and compare them to ourselves, are sometimes the leading factors for changes within our lives and the way we perceive the world. When the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to revisit his youthful days in Fezziwig’s world, Scrooges attitude towards life is soon shifted and he is reminded how his own values have diverged greatly from those of someone he once admired.
Mr. Fezziwig is a character put in place to provide contrast with Scrooge’s attitudes towards business ethics.
Scrooge tells the Ghost that Fezziwig’s “gift of happiness to his friends far outweighs the money he spent on the party. ” Fezziwig is the paragon of friendship, and his scene makes Scrooge reflect on his own “callous treatment” of his employees. Dickens shows the audience that Scrooge is starting to realise and take in what kind of “cold hearted, solitary old sinner” he is portrayed as, much different to the man he is remembering as his first employer. He also starts to explain to the Ghost how he “wants to talk to [his] clerk” about the conditions that he has heartlessly being forcing him to labour in.
From travelling back into his childhood and witnessing such a kind and generous man like Fezziwig, Scrooge starts to question his morals in life and how he should change his ways and transform himself into a likeable, pleasant man. Reminiscences and reminders of certain aspects in our former lives aid reform the people we are today and help shape our morals and values. Memories brought back to Scrooge, by the effects of his unfair and neglected childhood, give him the opportunity to realise that he wouldn’t want any ther innocent child put through the struggles he was compelled to deal with.
After the old man introduces himself as the Ghost of Christmas Past, he says he is there for Scrooge’s “welfare” and “reclamation,” then puts Scrooge’s hand on his heart. They instantly reappear on a wintry “fragile country road” around Scrooge’s childhood home. Scrooge is deeply affected by the memory, and he walks with the Ghost to the town where they come across a group of schoolboys. The Ghost explains that “the people [they] see are shadows of their former selves”, and are unaware of him and Scrooge.
The boys run out of school and wish merry Christmas to each other, but the Ghost reminds Scrooge that one boy, ignored by the others, remains in school alone. Scrooge begins to tear up inside knowing that he was that little boy and that his actions have followed him to where he is in the present, a very “isolated” and “introverted” man. The idea that he felt so alone and was maltreated as a child made him regret his earlier decision of being cynical, especially in the joyous season and makes him “wish he had given something to the boy carolling at his door last night.
Dickens uses Scrooges confronting childhood reminiscence in an attempt to convert his behaviours and actions from a very pessimistic viewpoint on life to a warm and optimistic attitude that was approachable to his fellow community members. In order to revolve a desired outcome, characters of this novella not only need to see their regrets but also live them once again. As Scrooge is continuously taken to various recollections of his childhood, his thoughts and opinions on certain aspects of his previous life start to evolve the person he has become into a positive role model for all.
When the Ghost takes Scrooge to visit a later time in his upbringing, he sees an older version of himself in the “prime of life” where “his face shows the first signs of greed as he sits by a crying girl, Belle. ” She breaks off their romance, reproaching him for replacing his love for her with the pursuit of money. Dickens emphasises their love for each other and how it was “torn apart by Scrooge’s obsession with business”. He sees this ridiculous priority he made and makes him want to start being generous towards the people who care for him, especially “The Cratchits who could use the money for good. The scene changes and Belle is now the mother of a raucous, affectionate brood of children. Her husband comes home and tells her he saw “Scrooge sitting alone in his office. ” Scrooge begs the Ghost to take him back to his own time, and takes it upon himself to “pull the Ghost’s cap over its brightly-lit head. ” As he is unable to set asleep the light, Scrooge is continuously reminded of his past and the poor choices he had made regarding money.
Dickens uses the light as a symbol of being open to seeing the ways in which the characters can improve their lives and creates this imagery for the readers to show that Scrooge is feeling overwhelmed and sorry for him in the mistakes that he had made in his past and how he is presenting that he does want to change for the better and into someone that he is proud of. Throughout the novella, The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge on adventures back into his childhood that really do create the mind set to want to change the person he is today into someone with a positive and outgoing look on life.
By showing Scrooge the misery and misfortune he was made to deal with as a child and young man, he realises that a change in his behaviours would be for the better not only for himself but the people around him too. From witnessing the unfortunate upbringing of himself and others in his past and the memories of this time is what has made the transformation of his attitude, possible and more effective as a sense of guilt has taken over his mind.
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