How is wealth treated in A Christmas Carol?

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

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The concept of "wealth" is seen in a couple of different lights in Dickens' work.  On one hand, there is a materialist conception of wealth that is repudiated through the revelations of the Scrooge character.  Scrooge recognizes that monetary wealth is secondary to the emotional wealth one shares with other people.  This is a lesson that Scrooge himself has to endure through confronting his own present, past, and future.  This spiritual wealth is what compels and drives Scrooge to pay for Tiny Tim's medical treatment, and enables Scrooge to be more well received by the community.  The idea of wealth is transformed to one that is communitarian, social, and more cohesive.  Dickens' insinuation is that real and true conceptions of wealth have to be seen in a public light, as opposed to the privatized and self- interested notions that are normally seen.  Wealth is thus transformed from one that alienates and crushes individuals to one that brings others into consciousness and one that is almost shared with the greater good to bring about more happiness.  In this, Dickens casts the issue of wealth in his work.

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