A Christmas Carol Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What do the children "Want" and "Ignorance'' symbolize in A Christmas Carol?

What do the children "Want" and "Ignorance'' symbolize in A Christmas Carol?

The children "Ignorance" and "Want" in A Christmas Carol symbolize the poor in Victorian society. Their inclusion in the story is meant to demonstrate how the poor have been forgotten and neglected by the middle and upper classes.

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Ignorance, the boy, can be interpreted as symbolizing the ignorance that keeps the poor, in Victorian England, poor. Without education, what chance can they have of bettering their situation? If people are ignorant, it is hard for them to know what to do to find a job, to know how to keep a job, and so on. If, however, the poor are given a chance to be educated, and to feel the care of society at large, then they will be much better positioned to help themselves. Want, the girl, can be interpreted as symbolizing the sheer lack of resources and the need experienced by the poor. Although we often associate "want," in the twenty-first century, as a pure desire for something that we do not actually need, the word itself does mean to be needy or to have unmet needs. The Victorians would have understood want to signify these meanings.

However, I do think it is possible to interpret Ignorance in a different way: he could symbolize the ignorance of people like Scrooge who refuse to acknowledge the...

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