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A Christmas Carol- 1843

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)


Romantic/Victorian Contrasts
Romantic Era Victorian Era
Idealism Visionary/Utopian Sober/Utilitarian

View of Kind/Harmonious Harsh/Cruel
Nature

Focus Inward/Individual Outward/Nation
Common man Middle class
Imagination/ Reality/work
introspection

Dickens concerns

Christmas a holiday of wonder and abundance capable of transcending both
sanctimonious Puritan abstinence and the dispiriting single-minded utilitarianism
To deny the pleasures of this world to oneself or others to deny the beneficence of
creation.
To value industrialization above human industry and treat ones fellows as cogs in the
commercial machine to impoverish the spirit and the body of the community that were
the lifeblood of progress.
To pursue profit at all costs to deny ones basic humanity and jeopardize, not only ones
place in society, but the survival of society itself.
A Carol philosophy cheerful views, sharp anatomisation of humbug, jolly good
temper . . . and a vein of glowing, hearty, generous, mirthful, beaming reference in
everything to Home, and Fireside. In place of business, mechanization, and
utilitarianism, Dickens celebrated imagination, family, and fellow feeling. In place of self-
denial and renunciation, Dickens celebrated abundance, hospitality, and the pleasures of
life.
Social/economic context
The Poor Laws (sponsored by the Benthamites) debtors and the jobless to prisons or
workhouses where families were separated and engaged in the unrewarding labor of
breaking rocks or picking strings from old rope to make insulation. They were fed a diet of
thin gruel designed to sustain them, barely. Children were 'apprenticed' to industries where
they became a source of cheap labor.
Utilitarianism"the greatest happiness of the greatest number" . This phrase represents the
heart of Utilitarianism (or Benthamism), which attempted to reduce decision-making about
human actions to a "felicific calculus" by weighing the profit, convenience, advantage,
benefit, emolument, and happiness that would ensue from the action against the mischief,
disadvantage, inconvenience, loss, and unhappiness that it would also entail.
Thomas Malthus human population would inevitably grow faster than agriculture's ability
to feed it, and so the poor must be restrained from breeding.
War and famine legitimate forces that helped keep down population size.
Just two years after Dickens published "A Christmas Carol," the Irish population was reduced
25% by the potato famine that killed nearly a million people and the emigration caused by
the terrible circumstances that remained afterwards
Utilitarianism

The belief that the value of a thing or an action is determined by its utility.
The ethical theory proposed by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill that all action should be
directed toward achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
Though the society tried to maintain a moral face, underneath was a heartless philosophy.
Chesterton calls this great gap between theory and practice the Victorian Compromise.
Responsible for "atheist industrialism" and the worship of wealth. Utilitarianism was
already whispering about breeding the poor, hinting at infanticide and murmuring at "the
folly of allowing the unfit to survive."
It was in this context that the great writers of the Victorian era wrote. Almost all of them
reacted against Utilitarianism, but from a variety of perspectives and with a variety of
results. They knew something fundamental had been lost from their society, and they were
trying to grasp it.
Structure
Title: Dickens saw his tale as one to be heard and shared, as Christmas
carols spread joy and bring people together
The Staves- part of the musical imagery, each chapter is a stave
A carol is a song of joy or praise. It is often intended to teach
something. In this case, the praise is of Christmas and how it is able to
make people forget their troubles, and of Scrooge because he changes his
ways. A stave is a section of the music where the mood is all the same. At
each stave, there is a different mood. This is the case in A Christmas Carol,
where each stave has a definite message and mood.
Point of View Mainly in the third person, with a touch of a first person
narrator.
Setting London and Scrooges cold, dark house.
Time is very important in A Christmas Carol, which is structurally centered
around distinct elements of Past, Present, and Future. But, the time
scheme of the story itself seems to make little sense. On Christmas Eve,
Jacob Marley's ghost tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts
on three successive nights. On Christmas morning, Scrooge awakes, having
already been visited by all three ghosts.
The three nights seem to be compressed into a single night. The presence
of the spirits apparently bends the normal flow of time. A view further
supported b y the fact that Scrooge goes to bed at two o'clock in the
morning after Marley's visitation and awakes at midnight the same night--
two hours after he fell asleep. Dickens uses the temporal inconsistencies
to emphasize the supernatural powers of the spirits--when they are
around, normal earthly standards, including the flow of time, have no
effect.
Allegory A narration or description usually restricted to a single
meaning because its events, actions, characters, settings, and objects
represent specific abstractions or ideas.
Each stave has a fixed meaning:
Scrooge greed, selfishness, indifference, and a lack of consideration for
one's fellow man
Ghost of Christmas Past memory
Ghost of Christmas Present charity, empathy, and the Christmas spirit
The reaper-like Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come the fear of death
A Christmas Carol moral ideals associated with Christmas: generosity,
kindness, and universal love for your community-and of Victorian England
in general.

Characters

Belle Scrooge's old girlfriend. Years ago, she broke her relationship off
with him because she felt that he had changed for the worse.
Bob Cratchit Scrooge's assistant, a loyal and diligent employee. A child
at heart, Cratchit truly enjoys carrying Tiny Tim around town, and is a
loving family man.
Tim Cratchit Bob Cratchit's youngest son. Never complains about his
handicap. Scrooge does donate money for Tiny Tim's medical treatment.
The Ghost of Christmas Past The first spirit to visit Scrooge is The Ghost
of Christmas Past. With him, Scrooge is able to see himself as a younger
man and remember a time when he was more open and hopeful about
life.
The Ghost of Christmas Present The second spirit is loud and boisterous,
a large man who shows up with a mountain of food and drink. His purpose
is to show Scrooge how his friends and family are celebrating Christmas
without him.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come This ghost does not speak, but
shows Scrooge a bleak future (his death and Tiny Tims).
Jacob Marley Marley is Scrooge's late business partner. Dead for seven
years, he comes back to haunt Scrooge and warns him that he is wasting
his life. He is bound around the waist with a chain, "the chain I forged in
life," made of "cashboxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy
purses wrought in steel." He informs Scrooge that he will be visited by
three ghosts.
Old FezziwigFezziwig is Scrooge's old employer. A large and genial man,
he throws a huge Christmas party with food and music and dancing and
drinks and good cheer all around. He provides a contrast to the kind of
employer Scrooge turns out to be: parsimonious and cold.
Ebenezer Scrooge a miser, a defender of utilitarianism and
Thomas Malthus.
Learns to treasure humanity through the glimpses that the
ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future give him into his
own life. He is relieved to find that he still has a chance to
change the course of his life, and he does it: he becomes
generous and good-humored, a positive force in the
community, and good friends with Tiny Tim.

Themes
1) Guilt and Innocence Scrooges guilty: he is mean and tight-fisted with
his assistant, Bob Cratchit; dismissive of his nephew, Fred; miserly and cold
with the men from the local charity association; and nasty to the little
caroler that he chases away from his keyhole with a ruler the innocents.
Marleys ghost raises the question of guilt directly, explaining that he
himself is forced to walk the earth as a ghost because he was a heartless,
self-involved man.
2) Redemption Scrooge is redeemed because he learns how to let his
spirit walk among his fellow men. He shows this by becoming a better
man, and a better master. He shows his redemption slowly by his actions,
reactions and emotions.
3) Fear of the world and relationships, fear of death.
4) Wealth and Poverty gap between the rich and poor.
Bob Cratchit can barely feed his family, but is happy on Christmas time.
A Christmas Carol does not equate poverty with cheer and wealth with
misery, however. The party at Fred's house shows people who are wealthy
having a good time
5) Ignorance and Want even though people like the Cratchits can laugh
in their poverty, it is still a serious and life-threatening matter.

Works Cited
Moore, Landsay. Magical Realism. Magical Realism. Fall 1998. 16
May 2006 <http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/MagicalRealism.html>.
Padama Lakshmi. Model of the Week. IGN Entertainment. 15 May
2006.
<http://www.askmen.com/women/models_200/224_padma_lakshmi.ht
ml>.
Rushdie, Salman. The Prophets Hair. The Norton Anthology of
English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams, et al. 7th ed. Vol. 2. New York:
Norton, 2000. 2843-52.
Salman Rushdie. 12 May 2006
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SalmanRushdi2.jpg>.
The Satantic Verse." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 12 May.
2006, 02:53 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation. 15 May. 2006
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_%28novel%29>.
The Prophets Hair
By Salman Rushide

Presented by Daphne, April, Hector & Yvonne
Salman Rushdie

Born Ahmed Salman Rushdie on June
19, 1947, in Bombay India, now living
in NYC.

Cathedral and John Connon School in
Mumbai
Rugby School in Warwickshire
then King's College, Cambridge in
England.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SalmanRushdi2.jpg
Salman Rushdie
Married for the fourth time to an
Indian model and actress Padma
Lakshmi.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/25/fashion/weddings/25VOWS.html?ex=1398
225600&en=74f2b7b35010f09c&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND
http://www.askmen.com/women/models_200/224_padma_lakshmi.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_subc
ontinent
Salman Rushdie
an author, novelist, essayist and sometime
critic
narrative style, blending myth and fantasy
with real life, has been described as magical
realism
magical realism: literary genre in which magical
elements appear in an otherwise realistic
setting
Rushdies Works

Grimus (1979)

Midnights Children (1981)

The Satanic Verses (1988)
best known criticized book
Midnights Children (1981)

loose allegory for the events in India
after the independence and partition
of India, which took place at midnight
on 15 August 1947
a major milestone in Indian writing.
won the 1981 Booker Prize
later awarded the 'Booker of Bookers'
Prize in 1993 - being the best novel to
be awarded the Booker Prize in its first
25 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight%27s_Children
The Satantic Verses (1988)

caused much controversy
many Muslims considered that it
contained blasphemous references
India was the first country to ban this
book
Supreme Leader of Iran, then issued a
fatwa which called for the death of
Rushdie
the book gained great critical acclaim
Fatwa was lifted in 1998, but his life is
still in constant threat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_%28novel%29
The Prophets Hair (1981)
invokes the Prophet un-controversially in early
works
The Prophets Hair is at once a moral fable in
the tradition of The Thousand and One Nights.


Summary

The Prophets Hair is based on story of the theft of
the Prophets hair. Miraculous but also disastrous
events befall whoever comes into contact with it.
Hashim found the stolen hair, but he didnt return it.
Under its influence, Hashim becomes a religious
hypocrite from a secular person. His son, Atta, tries to
return the hair back to Mosque, but fails.
Summary

His sister, Huma decides that the relic will have to be
stolen by hiring a thief; then they are able to get out
of the curse of it. At the end of story, Hashim
accidentally kills his own daughter. The thief is hunted
and shot by the police, but the thiefs four crippled
sons and blind wife have miraculously been cured by
their contact with the relic.

Characters
Hashim
self-satisfied hypocrite
he was not a godly man he set great store by
living honorably in the world. to teach these
people the value of money; let them only learn that,
and they will be cured of this fever of borrowing
borrowing all the time (2845)

Characters
Hashim
self-satisfied hypocrite
prides himself on inculcating the virtues of thrift,
plain dealing and a healthy independence of spirit.
(2846 L1)
the Prophet would have disapproved mightily of
this relic-worship. I see it purely as a secular
object of great rarity and blinding beauty. (2846-47)
Characters
Hashim
intolerant and violent religious fanatic
the moneylender looked swollen, distended. His
eyes bulged even more than they always had, ...
(2847)
he had filled up with some spectral fluid which
might at any moment ooze uncontrollably from his
every bodily opening. (2847)
Characters
Hashim
intolerant and violent religious fanatic

carelessly destroyed the harmony in the family.
(2847)
setting fire to books, except Quran. (2848)
punish debtors who are not able to pay interest of
installment. (2848)

Characters
Atta
Huma smart, careful, cool, brave
desperate
Atta and Humas mom go insane
The burglar
- sin
- disadvantaged people in the society
- crippling his children to ensure their lives with sympathy
from society (2850)
Genre
1. Parable
2. Magical Realism
3. Parable: to check human desire & follow natural cause

Magical Realism
2 conflicting perspectives:
1) based on a rational view of reality
2) acceptance of the supernatural as mundane
reality

set in a normal, modern world with
authentic descriptions of humans and
society

Theme
To mock at idol worship religion: a powerful
tool in the hands of rulers

Superstition-- deities or objects: Similar to Dh
Tyuo (), Matsu palanquin ()

superstition, extremity
Hazratbal, Mosque
Entrance of the
Sacred Relic
Chambers
Entrance Door
of the Sacred
Relic
Chambers
Interior View of the Sacred Relic Chambers
Some hairs from the beard of the Prophet
Muhammad

Ironies
What Hashim says and what he does are
opposite.

He likes to say that he sets great store by living
honorably in the world (2845, par 2 from the
bottom)

He desires the silver vial more than the hair.
(2846 last par )
Symbols The Prophet Hair
the sacred image of the Prophet Muhammad

a religious relic sacred image of the Prophet
Muhammad(2846 par 5~6)

secular object the relocation of the relic
changes the hair's meaning(2846 last par).
Symbols
Hair as a human heart
the desire of human beings

the great rarity of beauty

the truth of inner parts of human beings
(2847 par 5~end)


Recognition
Atta reveals the truth of possessing the relic.
(2849 par 2)

Huma realizes the dilemma because of the
hair. (2849 par 5 from the bottom)
Climax
While the thief, Sin, was approaching Hashim,
Atta started to scream wildly. (2851 par 5-6)

The catastrophe of Hashims family (2851 last
par)


Ending mixed with irony
Sheikh Sins doom (2852 par 4)

The four sons fury (2852 par 2 from the
bottom)

The regained sight of Sheikhs widow (2852
last par)

Questions

Why did the relic play such a significant part in
Hashim's life?
What did Atta die for?
Why did Huma want to hire a thief to steal the hair?
Point out the symbolic meaning of the hair.
If you were Hashim, would you return the Prophet's
Hair? Why or why not?