33 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2015
    1. lunatic

      Here lunatic refers to the Clerk, a harsh title reserved for those gone mad. The Clerks actions, opening a door out of good will and courtesy, are hardly lunacy, but to Scrooge the Clerk has done a great wrong. Dickens does this, not only for humor and irony, but also to reflect the skewed Scrooge's opinion of the world.

    2. fettered

      To be restrained by chains or rope.

    3. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are

      Trying to find a logical reason for Marley's appearance, Scrooge tries to claim that the ghost before him is a hallucination, induced by something he ate.

    4. ancient Prophet’s rod

      Here Dickens is referring to the biblical prophet Aaron, brother of Moses. In one passage Aaron confronts the Pharaoh of Egypt, who demands to see a miracle. In response to this Aaron casts his rod to the ground, in which it becomes a large snake. Thinking themselves more powerful the Pharaoh's sorcerers also cast down their rods, turning into snakes as well, but Aaron's consumes the others. The rod represents authority and power and by consuming the other snakes Aaron proves that his God is mightier. Similarly Marley's presence consumes Scrooge, taking away any power or control he might have had over his domain. Aaron before the Pharaoh

    5. Abrahams

      Acording to Christian and Judaic scripture Abraham, a direct descendant of Noah, is considered the father of the Jewish people. In order to create the chosen people (the Jewish) God must first test Abraham to see if Abraham is truly devoted to God. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Issac, who agrees. Abraham is just about to sacrifice Issac when an angel stops him. Abraham is then rewarded by God, who promises to make Abraham's descendants his chosen people. Abraham about to sacrifice Issac

    6. Belshazzars

      Another biblical figure, Belshazzar apears in chapter five of the Book of Daniel, in which Babylon is under siege. Belshazzar, thinking his wall impenetrable, hosts a feast . The proud king then requests Jewish vessels of worship (goblets), to be brought to him, which he then uses to make a toast to his pagan gods: a bold act of blasphemy. As he makes his toast, however, a hand apears and writes a message on the wall that alludes to the fall of Babylon. The writing on the wall

    7. Queens of Sheba

      Queen Sheba was a biblical figure who appears before King Solomon with an abundance of spices, gold and jewels, her purpose being "to prove him [King Solomon] with hard questions." Solomon answer these questions, impressing the queen. They then exchange goods and Queen Sheba heads back to her home lands (presumably southern Arabia). Queen Sheba appearing before King Solomon

    8. Cains and Abels

      According to Judaeo/Christian/Muslim myth, Abel and Cain were the first two children of Adam and Eve. Cain, the first born, farmed the land, while Abel herded sheep. Both brothers offered sacrifices to God: Abel giving lamb, Cain giving produce. After finding out that God favored Abel's offering, Cain falls into a jealous rage and kills Abel. Cain slaying Abel

    9. Dutch tiles

      Examples of Dutch tiles Image Description Image Description

    10. cravat

      Victorian neck tieImage Description

    11. Darkness is cheap

      John Elwes, Scrooge's real life counter-part, was well known for retiring for the night early, in order to "save candle light." Both Scrooge and Elwes understand the value of darkness, since you don't have to pay for it.

    12. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

      It is believed that Dickens' inspiration for Scrooge came from John Elwes: an English politician known for his miserly ways. Not only does Scrooge's physical description match Elwes', but like Elwes Scrooge didn't start out as a miser (which is revealed in Stave Two). At one point in his life Elwes roamed England, visiting city after city, indulging in expensive food, entertainment and frivolous items. It wasn't until Elwes started pursuing his uncle's inheritance did Elwes begin to adopt his notorious habits. His uncle, Sir Harvey Elwes, prided himself on spending only 110 pounds (roughly 200 U.S. dollars today) yearly. Sir Harvey did this by eating small game that he caught around his house (including rats), refusing to buy new cloths, going to bed as soon as possible to "save candle light" and various other extreme instances of penny-pinching. John Elwes eventually picked up these habits, so much so that people often thought he was a beggar in the streets. While Scrooge would never tolerate appearing as, or being called, a beggar, he does show extreme instances of greed, such as the cheap funeral for Marley, and refusing to give to charity.John Elwes

    13. Saint Dunstan

      Saint Dunstan was an Archbishop of Canterberry, and is the patron saint of metal workers. Many folk tales revolve around Saint Dunstan, most involving Dunstan thwarting the devil through the use of his skills as a black smith. Here Dickens is referencing the story where the Devil tried to seduce Dunstan by disguising himself as a beautiful woman. Duntstan, however, saw that the woman had hooves for feet. Realizing it was the Devil, Dunstan grabed a pair of hot tongs from his forge and clamped them on the Devil's nose, whose screams could be heard for miles. Dickens is stating that the intense cold of London could hurt the devil, and people, far worse than the hot tongs of a forge.Dunstan and the Devil More on Saint Dunstan

    14. Genius of the Weather

      In roman mythology a Genius was a spirit that followed and protected a person through out their life, much like a guardian spirit. While Geniuses were usually associated with humans, inanimate objects, places, events or ideas can have a Genius. In this instance, Dickens portrays one such Genius, helping to personify the weather as "mournful", adding to the already desolate scene.

    15. had once belonged to his deceased partner

      Much like Scrooge's real life counter part, John Elwes, Scrooge saves money by inheriting his living quarters from the deceased. John Elwes lived in his uncle's crumbling estate, which he refused to renovate in order to save money.

    16. they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population

      Decreasing the "surplus population" comes from a theory called Social Darwinism: the idea that the theory of natural selection can be applied to social and economic issues. The belief was that through Social Darwinism the "weak" would be eliminated, therefore evolving both society and humanity for the better. Social Darwinism stems from Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, in which Darwin states that all living things are in a "struggle for existence." Some philosophers would interpret Darwin's writings to mean that only the strong survive. One such philosopher was Herbert Spencer, who believed that evolution boiled down to "the survival of the fittest." From an economic stand point "the survival of the fittest" would mean that the rich are strong, and therefore should reproduce and thrive, while the poor should be left to die out. Social Darwinism sparked much debate in Dickens' time, and Scrooge represents the mind set of the many scholars and upper class Englishmen who believed in it.

    17. cross

      to be annoyed or irritated

    18. I do,” said Scrooge. “Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.

      To Scrooge money is everything, and so he can't understand why the poor are calling "Merry Christmas" to strangers, smiling, and being all around joyous. Scrooge thinks because they are poor they should be miserable. Yet, Scrooge's nephew turns the tables on him by asking why Scrooge is so dismal, to which Scrooge struggles for an answer. Essentially Scrooge cant figure out why he, a rich man, is so miserable and they, the poor, are so happy.

    19. Humbug

      Humbug by definition, when used as a verb, means: to deceive or trick. By saying "Bah humbug," when confronted with Christmas greetings, Scrooge is dismissing Christmas as a trick or deception. Scrooge believes that Christmas is just an excuse for people to forget their poverty and sorrows, and condemns them for accepting their social status.

    20. counting-house

      Essentially a business concerning the documentation of bank accounts, receipts, and other money related papers.

    21. “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

      Meaning that either it is better to avoid Scrooge altogether, rather than receive a glare or "evil eye" from him, or that it is better to be blind than to see through an "evil eye," as does Scrooge.

    22. Hamlet’s Father

      In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet is visited by his father, who tells Hamlet that he had been murdered. Dickens is again using Shakespeare as a means for humor, poking fun at how Shakespeare emphasized the king's death, while also doing the same thing with Marley. Dickens' is also drawing parallels between the two characters: both make a ghostly appearance to warn of imminent danger and both spirits are troubled and tormented after death. With these similarities in mind the question of whether or not Marley is betrayed, just as Hamlet's father was, arises. Perhaps Marley was betrayed, not by another person, but by his own greed.

    23. solemnised it with an undoubted bargain

      Instead of spending money on a lavish funeral for his long standing partner and only friend, Scrooge strikes a "bargain," resulting in a cheap funeral for Marley. Here we begin to get a sense of Scrooge's greed and lack of empathy for those around him.

    24. residuary legatee

      The person in which an estate is left to after the owner is deceased.

    25. dead as a door-nail

      This widely used expression's origins are somewhat vague, dating as far back as the 1300's. The expression grew in popularity with the release of William Shakespeare's Henry VI, and is still used today. Here Dickens questions the use of "door-nail" in the expression, instead of something actually associated with the dead, such as a coffin nail. In reality the "door-nail" is believed to be utilized in the expression, because during the process of securing these large, heavy nails, a carpenter would have to flatten one end in a process called "clinching". Once the nail was secure and "clinched" it would be referred to as "dead": hence "dead as a door-nail." Dickens plays around with the use of "door-nail" for two reasons: one to create a lighthearted and humorous tone, but also to characterize the narrator as insightful and clever, making both Dickens and the narrator more reliable.

  2. Oct 2015
    1. O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!

      To shrieve a man is to give him forgiveness or penance. In this case the Mariner is begging the holy hermit to release him from his curse.

    2. The selfsame moment I could pray;   And from my neck so free 290  The Albatross fell off, and sank   Like lead into the sea.

      here the Mariner finds beauty in the creatures of the sea and begins to bless them. It is here that the Mariner regains his ability to pray, and as such regains his christian faith. This is symbolized by the Albatross falling into the sea, releasing the Mariner from his pagan superstitions. This indicates a turning point in which the Mariners punishments begin to abate.

    3. Instead of the cross, the Albatross

      Here the Mariner is forced to remove the cross around his neck, and replace it with the dead albatross. The albatross itself embodies superstition, so by switching the cross with the bird the sailors loose sight of their christian beliefs and give way to the more pagan superstitions of the sea. Perhaps this is why the sailors are being punished, for they've lost sight of God due to this bird. Maybe that's why the Mariner shot the albatross: to release his crew from their pagan values. If this holds true, the albatross would then act as a mark of protection against the vengeful spirits that plague the ships journey, explaining why the Mariner is the only survivor (note the second half is speculation).

    4. death-fires

      Coleridge is probably referring to a phenomenon known as St. Elmo's fire, in which electricity discharges from a pointed object, creating a glowing orb or spark. These "death-fires" often occur during thunder storms or within a high electric field. This phenomena was often associated with a spiritual omen. Since these electric discharges happen only in areas of high energy, and there is no visible storm, we can assume that the Mariner and his ship are now in some supernatural area of spiritual power.

    5. 'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,   That bring the fog and mist

      Here the Mariners crew begins to agree with his choice to shoot the bird, while in the previous verse on line 95 they cursed him for his decision. The fickleness of the crew is reflected in the conditions in which they sail: good times means the Mariner is right, bad times means the Mariner is wrong. Coleridge may be trying to paint the Mariner's actions in a neutral light, showing that this situation is only terrible or joyous because man deems it that way. Coleridge wants the reader to question whether or not the actual slaying of the albatross has any real life consequences.

  3. Sep 2015
    1. Did then the bold Slave rear at last the Sword Of Vengeance?

      This line refers back to the previous sonnet, in which a slave weeps bitter tears for the loss of his life and family. Due to the wrongs wrought upon this poor soul, the slave is tempted with murder and violence against his oppressors as he recalls all the joys that he lost because of slavery.

    2. Tho' the gay negroes join the midnight song, Tho' merriment resounds on Niger's shore, She whom he loves far from the chearful throng Stands sad, and gazes from her lowly door

      These lines describe the slave's tortured thoughts of his homeland and family, which were so cruelly taken from him. The slave knows that he should be among his people, celebrating their life and traditions along the Niger river. This sonnet aims to show the slaves as human, and by reflecting on the loss of his culture, home and people, Southy hopes to draw sympothy out of his readers. Southy takes it a step further by describing the slaves family, left alone to fend for themselves, not knowing what happened to their husband.