The Allegorical Meaning of A Christmas Carol | Teen Ink

The Allegorical Meaning of A Christmas Carol

February 21, 2012
By DingDongRandom SILVER, Diamond Bar, California
DingDongRandom SILVER, Diamond Bar, California
7 articles 0 photos 2 comments

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A allegory is a extended metaphor consisting of symbolism and all the elements of a novel. A Christmas Carol, is an allegory that is delivering several message by using characters and scenes. Dickens' ability to weave messages into the character's dialogue, attitude, and actions, makes this allegory a masterpiece. Through characters such as Scrooge, Fred, and Ignorance and Want, Dickens creates an extensive allegory which delivers his message to the public.

Scrooge is pictured as a miserly man, even after he changes. Dickens uses Scrooge as the symbol of the wealthy and aristocratic members of society, who are ignorant of the misfortunes of the poor. Dickens goes as far as possible to show how cold and unforgiving, Scrooge is towards the lower class men. Scrooge is said to be so cold that, "No warmth could warm his soul." Furthermore, Scrooge shows his uncaring attitude toward the poor through the lengthy tirade he gave to the men who asked for a donation to give to the poor. Through his tirade he demonstrates his ignorance and neglect towards the poverty stricken members of society. Using Scrooge, Dickens is able to call for a effective moral change in the wealthy, thus, making Scrooge part of a allegory rather then just being a character in a novella.

Charles Dickens brings to life the two traits that man kind will inherit, ignorance of the wealthy and the want of the poor. Metaphorically speaking, Ignorance and Want are the children of mankind. As the children of mankind, they represent the traits that filter through the generations because of the poor quality of life that can not change, because of the negligence of the wealthy. Scrooge, clearly appalled by the condition of the children, asks the spirit if they were his and Scrooge receives the answer, “'They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon them. 'And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!' cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. 'Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!” This quote clearly depicts the message Dickens is trying to deliver to the general public, that the wealthy must change their ways for the betterment of society. This being said, it is evident that Dickens is using this novella to portray his ideas, therefore making it a allegory.

Not being part of the upper class, Fred represents the middle class man who is not ignorant to the plight of the poor and embraces Christmas. He in many ways is like Scrooge's old boss, Fezziwig. They both extend a invitation for Christmas party to all their employees, this simple gesture, brings joy to their workers. With this scene, Dickens is able to exhibit that even though Fred is not rich, he is still able to bring happiness and joy to his fellow workers. Charles Dickens, using Fred as a Character Foil to Scrooge, clearly displays the difference through attitude and actions. He furthers this point with the argument between Fred and Scrooge, Fred obviously has better arguments against Scrooge, and his presence lightens the atmosphere. Charles Dickens masterfully delivers his message through his well written prose. Time and time again he efficiently deliver his message, that the wealthy must change. Dickens brings Fred into the novel as a model for the upper class and how avaricious and blind they have been. Thus enlightening the aristocratic members of society with this allegory.

Allegories have been written throughout the course of history, but none, is more cherished and commemorated than the novella A Christmas Carol. This allegory is cherished because of its simplicity and impact, while it is commemorated for it's moral message. The novella is constructed of clever use of characters and expertly inlaid messages, by using characters such as Scrooge, Fred, and Ignorance and Want, as a result, a effectively delivered message and moral change in the wealthy.

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This article has 2 comments.

LukeGuffy said...
on Jan. 26 2021 at 5:27 am
LukeGuffy, Birkenhead, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
hello kids

eljeffe911 said...
on Dec. 28 2014 at 10:11 am
So, I don't pretend to know all there is about this story, it seems that each time I read it, I discover more that stands out depending on what I need to learn at different times in my life. However, I don't see that you have provided any conclusive evidence that Dickens' message is to the wealthy and the need for moral change strictly to that class of people. He says that Ignorance and Want are mankind's children, period. Every class of people have room for improvement. They both are guilty of the sin of pride, there is pride both from the top looking down and from the bottom looking up. In fact I'd venture to say that pride from the bottom looking up is far more prevalent than the sin of pride looking from the top down. In other words, I think that Ignorance and Want need to be taken on a personal level, you and I need to look at what we can do, despite social classing, to help solve these problems. Ignorance is to be had just as fully by the poor and middle classes as the rich and wealthy. In today's world, in most first world countries the opportunity to rise to the next class has never been greater. Of course we need to do what we can to raise those 3rd world countries up as well, but I have been to a number of 3rd world countries, and in those cases where their wants are provided for, it seems that they live happy lives and don't necessarily need the wealth that industry brings. In other words, yes we need to help those that truly need help, but individually we each need to be doing what we can to raise our own selves to new levels. No amount of ranting about a rich person walking by will make me any better a person. Nor would him handing me a check for a million dollars so that I can be part of his social class, the reality is, most of the poorer classes of people wouldn't know how to manage the money and would just lose it if they were given it through frivolous spending, and inability to safely and wisely invest. Wealth takes work and knowledge and skill to have and to hold "a fool and his money are soon parted". Most poor and middle classes don't understand this, so they remain poor and middle class. Those that figure out the proper handling of money rise to the upper classes as a matter of course. Then once they do, their stewardship becomes teaching and helping any who want to learn so that ignorance can be banished. However, they can only teach those who are willing to learn (stop whining about the rich and so something about it!) So really, at the end of the day, I would say that all classes of people (everyone) have responsibilities in the banishment of both ignorance and want.