Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on the seventh of February 1812. He had little education since he had to work in a factory after his father was thrown into a debtor’s prison, but read a great deal. His father was released from the prison after inheriting a sum of money from his grandmother. He still worked at the factory for a while after the inheritance. The terrible working conditions of the factory and his mother’s reluctance to immediately send him home influenced him throughout his life.
Dickens obtained a position at a law office as a junior clerk and then a reporter. It was this experience along with his employment at the factory that gave him insight into the struggles of the poor in England. After the success of a few minor works, Chapman and Hall offered to publish a collaboration of engravings, provided by Robert Seymour, and Dickens’s text. This turned into the Pipwick Papers, which was the first national recognition of Dickens’s genius.
After a few successful novels Dickens thought his success was waning, and he needed money since his wife was pregnant. Because of a dispute with his former publisher, he self published A Christmas Carol, but due to several printing problems, he did not make as much money as he had hoped in the short term. The book would never go out of print, and there have been numerous adaptations of the work, being the most successful Christmas novel of all time.
Besides financial reasons, Dickens wanted to help the poor by educating the public about them. He spoke at a fundraiser while writing A Christmas Carol about helping the poor through education. Dickens uses a combination of past Christmas traditions in the book and new ones that had been recently introduced during his time. In this way he created a Christmas tale that was largely secular, although the message parallels the hope of the Gospel.
It has been speculated that Ebenezer Scrooge was based on Dickens’s father, who had left him in the factory by living beyond his means, and didn’t immediately send for him after receiving his inheritance. Scrooge was also a symbol of the rich who oppress the poor. By his redemption. Dickens’s father was redeemed, the poor were saved, the sinners were enlightened, and even the reader has hope.
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