'A Christmas Carol' - Stave 1 Key Quotations

"Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster."

CONTEXT:

Impact of isolation. Some individuals are happy to be segregated and not be part of Victorian society. They are detached from the ‘real’ world and become distanced from real life and emotions.

THEMES:

Isolation; Vulnerability; Rejection

LANGUAGE:

Similes = "hard and sharp as flint" describes Scrooge's harsh character, whilst "solitary as an oyster" tells us he is lonely.

Sibilance = 's' sound in the rule of three makes him sound harsh.

" 'Bah!' said Scrooge, 'Humbug!' "

CONTEXT:

Reveals a superior attitude of Scrooge and shows that he rejects emotions, loving only money and the acquisition of it.

THEMES:

Rejection; Isolation

LANGUAGE:

Exclamatives = rude and offensive as he dismisses all invitations to interact and is rejecting social life too.

"What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough."

- SCROOGE -

CONTEXT:

Dickens highlights the greed of many Victorian businessmen who only acted for themselves and not others.

THEMES:

Arrogance

LANGUAGE:

Arrogance = he believes that only money can make you happy.

Question = shows Scrooge’s disbelief in anything other than his own ideas.

"Are there no prisons?" and "workhouses" and “decrease the surplus population”

- SCROOGE -

CONTEXT:

Dickens highlights how hard-hearted some parts of society were. These people often gave the poor no real respect. He disliked it and likely wanted us to hate it too.

THEMES:

Social Responsibility; Empathy

LANGUAGE:

Negativity/offensive = use of institutions as ‘help’ as opposed to family or benefactors.

"I wear the chain I forged in life."

- MARLEY'S GHOST -

CONTEXT:

Dickens seems to want us to value people and friendship more than money. Marley's line here implies that wealth is no comfort, even in death.

THEMES:

Greed; Wealth; Consequences; Responsibility

LANGUAGE:

Metaphor = the chain represents how people are linked to their greed and how it haunts you forever.

"A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!"

- FRED -

CONTEXT:

Dickens was trying to show us the forgiving nature of Fred and how people continually want to welcome Scrooge back. The power of redemption, forgiveness and kindness.

THEMES:

Kindness; Family; Community

LANGUAGE:

Positivity = Fred's language is warm and pleasant, which is a complete contrast to Scrooge's.

Exclamation marks = he is ordering Scrooge to be merry and festive.