What atmosphere does Dickens create when he describes Christmas at the Cratchits?

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In this scene from the third stave, Dickens creates a warm, positive, and joyful atmosphere. This is created by highlighting the family's love and devotion to one another, as well as their appreciation for the Christmas meal.

For an example of love, take a look at Mrs. Cratchit's reaction to Martha's arrival. Although Martha is late, Mrs. Cratchit is described as kissing her a "dozen times" and removing her shawl with "zeal." She also invites Martha to sit by the fire, using words which emphasizes her love and affection:

Sit ye down before the fire, my dear, and have a warm, Lord bless ye.

In addition, although the family's finances are poor, they appreciate what they have. This is best shown by Dickens' description of the turkey:

Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration.

Dickens also creates a warm and positive atmosphere through the image of the family gathered around the hearth. Although the family only possesses two tumblers and a custard jug, the image of them sharing the wine and wishing each other a Merry Christmas demonstrates their genuine love and affection for one another.

Through these descriptions, Dickens depicts the Cratchits as the ideal family. They may possess very little but their love towards one another dominates the scene. By highlighting their loving and appreciative nature, Dickens creates a warm atmosphere which contrasts sharply with that of the previous stave.

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Dickens communicates an atmosphere of joy within a setting of poverty. Wealth and poverty are one of the themes found in "A Christmas Carol" as is the Victorian Christian Christmas experience. Alongside these, is the theme that relationships are important as evidenced by the return to analyze Scrooge's relationships repeatedly within the story.

As Dickens describes Christmas at the Cratchits, he paints a picture with his words of a poverty stricken home in the process of making the most of the Christmas season with what they have. He writes of a mother who cheerfully goes about preparations for a Christmas dinner. It is clear that the family celebrates a Christian Christmas and that though poor, they are full of the joy of the season. Dickens describes the family interactions with an atmosphere of love and caring that shows the family values each other and the relationships they share.

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