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How does Dickens identify and accomplish his social aims in A Christmas Carol?

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amir-nit | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted September 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM via iOS

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How does Dickens identify and accomplish his social aims in A Christmas Carol?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that one of the social aims that Dickens sought to present in A Christmas Carolwas the idea that there can be an aspect of being in the world that is not solely driven by economic and material reality.  Dickens understood this from his own life, having seen the effects of Debtor's Prison and the squalid conditions of industrial London.  Dickens recognized that an emergent commercial society also embraced materialism as the only means of being in the world.

Dickens writes of a time period where materialism dominated all aspects of being in the world.  Like Scrooge, industrial London was a setting where wealth and money was all that mattered.  One of Dickens's social aims is to present some other aspect to individual identity.  Scrooge's redemption at the end of the novel is only possible because he has come to the conclusion that money and wealth are not the only components of consciousness.  Scrooge has rejected that which is temporal for that which is universal and transcendent.  In this transformation, Dickens's social aims are evident, seeking to convey a mode of being that Dickens would like to see replicated on a larger level in society.  Being able to export the change that Scrooge undergoes on a larger social level becomes one of his aims.  In recognizing that Scrooge can change, and thus all are capable of change, Dickens has been able to accomplish one of his social aims.

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