Poverty In A Christmas Carol

In A Christmas Carol, where does Dickens portray poverty? Please include quotes. 

Within A Christmas Carol there are many instances of poverty described. For example, look at the description of the Cratchit family in the third stave: "They were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty." In this same stave, Ignorance and Want appear to Scrooge; they are children who have been badly scarred and taken from the world too early due to their poverty. In the fourth stave, we get a description of the poor communities: "Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery."

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Poverty is a critical theme embedded across A Christmas Carol, as is society's blindness towards the suffering of the poor. This blindness is an attitude that is practically incarnated in the character of Scrooge, as he appears in the book's beginning. This lack of empathy is expressed as early as Stave 1, when a pair of solicitors comes to Scrooge, requesting a donation in the name of charity:

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"

"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.

"Both very busy, sir."

"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it." (Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Stave 1)

Ultimately, this book follows Scrooge through a series of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 957 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 6, 2020