How does Dickens create Sympathy for Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol’?
In the novella ‘A Christmas Carol’, Dickens creates sympathy for Scrooge by showing the reader who he used to be, who he could have been, and how people really feel about him. He does this by structuring the novella to show Scrooge’s past, present and future, so Scrooge’s character can learn to be a better man by reflecting on his mistakes in life.
In the extract, Dickens makes a link to the theme of Love, as he writes about the moment Belle leaves Scrooge, leaving him lonely and having nobody to mourn his death. Belle talks to Scrooge with a soft voice, which indicates a sympathetic tone. She tells him, ‘I have no just cause to grieve’, which creates sympathy for Scrooge because the only person he ever loved and cared for has now left him. Belle also wears a mourning dress which suggests she is mourning the death of Scrooge’s love for her and his newfound greediness. Scrooge tries to justify his change in personality by explaining how the money he earns will keep them out of poverty, leading to happiness. However, we know that present day Scrooge is very wealthy, but a miserable and lonely man. This use of dramatic irony and comparison creates sympathy because the reader is shown that Scrooge was once not as harsh and rigid as he was in the present, after he gains the money he wished to have in the extract.
Scrooge’s isolation and loneliness is a recurring theme in the novella and is shown through many techniques. The extract takes us to another point in the play when Scrooge is taken to the present where he witnesses Belle’s family and their happy life. Her new husband makes a remark of how ‘Quite alone in the world’ Scrooge is. The use of dialogue shows the reader what others think of Scrooge and because the couple take the matter light heartedly shows that they do not care towards Scrooge, even though Belle is his former lover. Scrooge’s misery and his broken heart is shown when Dickens writes ‘said Scrooge in a broken voice’, and Scrooge keeps making remarks to the spirit to take him away from the scene. Earlier on in the novella, in the first description of Scrooge he is described as ‘solitary as an oyster’. The use of the simile and word ‘oyster’ indicates that Scrooge has the potential to be a better person, just as an oyster has the potential to have a valuable pearl in it. The simile also shows his confinement at the start of the story and represents Scrooge as a character that is hard to open. The process of releasing Scrooge’s true self occurs when he is taken on the journey by the three spirits. The use of pathetic fallacy in the novella creates sympathy for Scrooge’s life as a lonely and miserable old man. The ‘fogginess’ represents his lack of sight of society and the people around him. This creates sympathy because it shows how Scrooge truly does not have anyone else in life to keep him company and how dark his life, like the inside of his counting house...