A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations

A brief overview of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. During the night of Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by 3 ghosts each of which represent a different part of the Christmas Season. The first ghost to visit Scrooge was the ghost of Christmas past, and this ghost took Scrooge to see his childhood and all that he had lost by living his early life with selfish ambition. When the first ghost left Scrooge had a lot to think about but he went back to bed. Here Dickens is showing his readers that changing a way a person thinks takes time and repetition. Scrooge needed another ghost to keep his thought train going. The second ghost was the ghost of Christmas present, this ghost simply showed scrooge all of the joy the people that people had during the Christmas season. However the most important thing that the ghost showed Scrooge was a family that was very poor. This family was very happy and content with their circumstances and it made Scrooge think about how they could be happy with so little, and he could be so miserable with so much.

With the second ghost Dickens is teaching his readers the importance of being content with what one has, without contentment a person will never be happy no matter how much wealth they accumulate. After the second ghost had left Scrooge was very shaken up but it took the visit of the third ghost to make him a true believer in the Christmas spirit. The last ghost was the ghost of Christmas yet to come, and this ghost showed Scrooge what the world would be like if he did not change his ways and help the poor. One very meaningful passage shows Scrooge looking in at the same family he had seen with the second ghost, but the youngest son in the family had died due to lack of medical treatment. Scrooge eventually is shown his own grave and he begins to fear for his life and the lives of his fellow man. A Christmas Carole end with Scrooge giving out gifts on Christmas and promising to help the poor throughout the rest of his life; this is a typical ending for Dickens’s books in which the protagonist is put on the right path and everyone is happy.

Great Expectations

Dickens’s novel Great Expectations originally appeared in the newspaper All Year Round over an eight month period, and it was very popular. Because Great Expectations was written for a paper Dickens wrote it in two chapter installments they kept the reader interested in-between papers while still satisfying their need for resolution at the end of each installment. This novel is sometimes considered semi-autobiographical because in it Dickens draws on many instances from his own life. Great Expectations is the story of an orphan named Pip who traces his life from early childhood to adulthood. Pip goes through 3 stages in his life each with its own expectations. The first are with his humble beginnings with Joe and his visits to old Miss Havisham and Estella. Joe is a hard working man that does his very best to love Pip and teach him about life. However, Pip is not grateful for the life that Joe has given him, and he desires to gain the affections of the lovely Estella who is a pawn of Miss Havisham.

The second stage of Pips life begins when a mysterious benefactor gives Pip a large some of money and he goes to live in London. Pip soaks up the high class life of Londonbut his ingratitude towards Joe continues when Joe sends Pip a letter saying that he wants to visit him in London. After reading this letter Pip is aghast that common Joe would be coming into his life in London. Here Dickens gives the reader a true look at ingratitude, Joe is a very hard working man and he loved Pip with all the love he had, but Pip cannot even begin to return this love by welcoming Joe into his house in London. In the third stage of Pips life he is accounted with the realization that his benefactor is actually a convict. Here Pip must deal with the ugly side of life head on, and he does not fare so well. The book ends with one of Dickens greatest set of incredible circumstances in which many of the characters turn out to be linked to each other through Miss Havisham. In Great Expectations Dickens gives the reader much to think about particularly of gratitude and what it means to be a gentleman. Although Pip had lots of money Dickens makes it clear that it is his actions that define him, and only at the end of the book does Pip begin to understand for himself what it means to be a true gentleman.

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