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In A Christmas Carol, why is "Doom" written on the brow of Ignorance?

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stfes8118 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 12, 2013 at 7:56 AM via web

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In A Christmas Carol, why is "Doom" written on the brow of Ignorance?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many instances of foreshadowing in A Christmas Carol. "Ignorance " and "Want"represent the children, many of whom would die before their 10th birthdays, and the plight of the poor. "Doom" written on the forehead foreshadows the fact that Scrooge and others like him are perpetuating the lives of the uneducated and therefore ignorant who have no hope of riding above their status.

The "Spirit of Christmas Present" shows Scrooge a vision of the children - Ignorance and Want,- and warns him that, unless things change and the "writing is erased" that they will breed more want and the situation will only worsen. Scrooge needs to recognize his own contribution to this problem. Just as he sees poor people enjoying themselves does not reduce the seriousness of poverty and its repercussions. Just because Scrooge is rich and miserable 

does not equate poverty with cheer and wealth with misery.

Scrooge, himself the very embodiment of all that is wrong with the winter season signifies darkness and despair in the midst of the happiness of Christmas. Charles Dickens felt the need to highlight the plight of the poor who were "doomed" to a continuing cycle of poverty.  

Scrooge's change of heart begins during his visit from the Spirit of Christmas Present as he does enquire after the children-Ignorance and Want- something he would not previousy have done. It becomes obvious that Scrooge's standard answer

 "Are there no workhouses?"

is far from appropriate.

After the revelations, the cycle of renewal begins for Scrooge and already he is able to save Tiny Tim from death and so "erase" at least some of the wrongs and the "doom" that otherwise awaited the poor.

 

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