Posts Tagged ‘Charles Dickens’

Every few Christmases, I tend to re-read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as the book has always had a hold on me ever since I first read it as a child.

When I read it as a child, I had no real social conscience or understanding, of course – I simply enjoyed it as a Christmas story. As time has gone on, however – and particularly in the last several years – it has become more obvious how socially and morally relevant Dickens’ story still is.

It was reinforced again a few days ago when I was walking down my nearest high street.

The shops were really busy, the streets were crowded and there were Christmas lights and stuff everywhere. But there was a particular point at which I had a vivid moment of perceptual clarity, where it freshly occurred to me just how unmeaningful and fake so much of this milieu was. (more…)

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poverty-uk

One of the moments I always remember most from Charles Dickens’ immortal seasonal story,  A Christmas Carol,  is the early passage where Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by the charity collectors, who naively come to Scrooge for a donation to their ‘fund for the poor’.
True to character, the miserly Scrooge tells them that he doesn’t have time for ‘idle people’. “Are the work-houses still in operation?” he casually asks, implying that the poor, disabled and destitute  should be put to work. When he is confronted with the possibility of many of them dying, Scrooge simply says, “well, they’d best get on with it and decrease the surplus population…”

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