30 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2016
    1. They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

      According to author Robert D. Butterworth, critic Thomas Hood was very concerned with the Poor Law and it's operations involving the prisons and work houses. The authorities of these facilities would ensure the dehumanization of its workers, who were already humiliated in having no choice but to go there (Butterworth, 432). This dehumanization stemmed from family separation, lack of free expression, and long work hours with much limitation on meals since the authorities were cheap about the costs. The dehumanization is shown in the two children within the folding of the ghost who appear hideous and show animal-like behavior. They represent the poor class that seem so frightening because of the ignorance of those with higher status, like Scrooge, who neglected them as people, sparing no provisions or donations when needed.

    2. There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family;

      According to Tara Moore, author of Starvation In Victorian Christmas Fiction, the novel by Dickens conveys the role food plays in determining the ethnic and class identity of the Cratchit family (Moore, 498). Compared to the list of foods a family of should typically have at Christmas dinner, the Cratchits had the minimal amount, with goose, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, and pudding. This exploited their low class status as the wife and kids all stayed home to prepare the meal throughout the day. However this meal was still sufficient for the whole family as they found the power of joy to be within themselves and their love for each other rather than in the manifestations of the holiday itself.

    3. “There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”

      The Ghost of Christmas Present suggests that Scrooge should acknowledge those who mean well by him and credit them for their work under his authority. Dickens lived in a society where businesses would attempt to lessen the obligations owed to those would did their work (Sullivan, 934). Referring back to the novel, we see this idea conveyed through Scrooge's commentary on the justice that he thinks the prison and work place provide for the poor, lower class. The reference along with the Ghost's suggestion also parallels how Scrooge treats his clerk Bob Cratchit, paying him low wages for as much work as he has Bob do for him. Yet Scrooge never seems to feel obliged towards Crachit regardless.

    4. But they didn’t devote the whole evening to music. After a while they played at forfeits; for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.

      In reference to the birth of Christ in the manger. Christmas was to bring much merriment as the birth of Christ brought joy to the world.

    5. Plenty’s horn

      Plenty's Horn refers to a cornucopia, a large horn shaped object overflowing with produce. It symbolized an abundance of nourishment, particularly associated with giving thanks and being joyous. This is the same kindness the Ghost of Christmas Present bestows upon those in the town who were quarreling on the way to church, returning joy to their soul.

    6. Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort, who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two, and being usually equal to the time-of-day, express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter; between which opposite extremes, no doubt, there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects.

      According to the article Retelling of A Christmas Carol even though Charles Dickens was poor when he was young, at the time of writing Carol he was ashamed to be part of such lower class and thus prided himself among reaching out to his now fellow middle class citizens. Angered by pirates, who called themselves artistic collaborators and re-originated his novel, Dickens eagerly desired to take full authorship of his work (Davis, 112). However such pirates, filled with greed and vulgarity, were able to confront Dickens, suggesting that his writing was not a way to escape his cruel past. Dickens spoke on preventing the copyright of British works by American publishers which made hims seem self-serving in the eye of the American media, as the so called pirates who were copying his novel came forth as his collaborators and were able to reach the lower class by way of cheaper illustration, popularizing Dickens's novel even more (Davis, 113). The vulgar nature of the pirates, and Dickens's supposed obsession with authorship and royalties place them parallel to the free-and-easy sort of gentlemen in A Christmas Carol, like Scrooge, who deem it necessary capable of any endeavors they decide to carry out. The similarities convey Scrooge's selfish behavior, supplying charity to the labor house and prison which he he supports, instead of also giving donations for the poor, which in this case could be deemed indirect manslaughter, as the prison and workhouse conditions were of ill status.


      References for further reading:

      1. Butterworth, Robert D. "THOMAS HOOD, EARLY VICTORIAN CHRISTIAN SOCIAL CRITICISM, AND THE HOODIAN HERO | Victorian Literature and Culture | Cambridge Core." Cambridge Core. Cambridge University Press, 2011. Web. 09 Dec. 2016. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S1060150311000076.

      2. Davis P. Retelling A Christmas Carol. American Scholar [serial online]. Winter90 1990;59(1):109. Available from: Historical Abstracts, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 9, 2016.

      3. Moore, Tara. "STARVATION IN VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS FICTION | Victorian Literature and Culture | Cambridge Core." Cambridge Core. Cambridge University Press, 2008. Web. 09 Dec. 2016. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S1060150308080303.

      4. Sullivan, Barry, A Book that Shaped Your World: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (October 1, 2013). Alberta Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 4, 2013; Loyola University Chicago School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-024. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2369511

  2. Nov 2016
    1. “I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees!” He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears.

      Scrooge's very first words of the final stave show the transition from ominous to upbeat and positive. He had never thought he could have such a joyous spirit until after his ghostly visits. The last stave has Scrooge revisit everyone since before the he saw the ghosts. He now shares the Christmas spirit with them all, circling back to Dickens's point of true moral Christmas spirit.

    2. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

      The Ghost of Christmas future represents the fear of death as it appears to be the shadowy figure of a reaper. After being shown a horrid future ending in an early death, Scrooge makes his final pleas promising that he will relive the past, present, and future honoring Christmas in his heart. He has learned his lesson and remembers Marley's fate, hoping not to share the same.

    3. “Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge. “Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

      Dickens exhibits more irony to the reader, showing how Scrooge is now biting the words he once spoke. That concern he expresses for ignorance and want shows he has a better understanding of the toils that the lower class face.

    4. “I’m sure he is very rich, Fred,” hinted Scrooge’s niece. “At least you always tell me so.” “What of that, my dear!” said Scrooge’s nephew. “His wealth is of no use to him. He don’t do any good with it. He don’t make himself comfortable with it. He hasn’t the satisfaction of thinking—ha, ha, ha!—that he is ever going to benefit US with it.”

      This passage shows further importance of how all the lavis luxuries and merriment are useless if not shared with others around you.

    5. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door.

      The Ghost of Christmas Present represents giving, good intent and celebration, while the pile of food it sits upon symbolizes feasting and merriment. By bringing Scrooge to various houses for Christmas dinner, it shows the empathy that Scrooge can gain, feeling the toil that the lower class families like the Cratchits felt. Dickens displays the Cratchit family as face for the lower class, showing that they are to be valued as individual human beings that do matter to society.

    6. “It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”

      Dickens uses the Christmas party scene at Fezziwig's to exhibit moral standards of Christmas spirit. Throwing lavish parties and enjoying luxuries is not immoral. It is when the desire for such material luxuries keeps one from sharing ones self with others, as we see when Belle breaks off her engagement to Scrooge because he became consumed with greed for wealth and grew cold.

    7. “Nephew!” returned the uncle, sternly, “keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.” “Keep it!” repeated Scrooge’s nephew. “But you don’t keep it.” “Let me leave it alone, then,” said Scrooge. “Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!” “There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound 11 on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

      Dickens uses characters to represent certain themes and ideas throughout the text. For example, he portrays Scrooge as everything that goes against the Christmas spirit, while Fred is a reminder to Scrooge and the reader of the joy and cheerfulness that Christmas brings.

    8. “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge. “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?” “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.” “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge. “Both very busy, sir.” “Oh! 13 I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.” “Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.

      Dickens aims at the Poor Laws, exposing how unfair the government system is to the underclass, leaving them to a life of either debtor's prison or working in union houses. Dicken's also dismisses Scrooge's defense for such establishments, since Scrooge uses his charity towards them as an excuse.

    9. the light upon its head burnt very clear.

      Referring back to the light from the ghost's head, the reader gets a sense that it burned so bright because the power of Scrooge's mind was at work, fully committed to scene and all the joy everyone at the ball expressed.

    10. It was a strange figure—like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child’s proportions.

      The Ghost of Christmas Past's childlike figure symbolizes memory. Its transition in shape to appear older, shows how memory is a connection of the stages in ones life, for the ghost never maintains the same shape. The light represents the luminous power of the mind and the cap refers to the buildup passions within Scrooge that could keep such light from being shared among others. As the ghost takes Scrooge back to past Christmases, we see that the young Scrooge was filled with love and care, which lessened as he grew older and became overtaken with greed and desire for wealth. The memories connect Scrooge with his emotions and starts to breakdown his cold, hard persona.

    11. He tried to say “Humbug!” but stopped at the first syllable.

      According to the oxford English dictionary, humbug describes that which is deceptive or false talk or behavior. The mere fact that Scrooge cannot manage to say this second syllable very well shows the great affect of Marley's message. Scrooge is shown to be pondering the thought of Marley's toil and how he himself may share the same fate if he does not learn his lesson from the visits soon to come. Therefore, with the virtuous nature of this warning, the reader can perceive a possible change in Scrooge for the better.

    12. “But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.

      Another example of foreshadowing, given by the portly gentlemen. Scrooge denies knowing that many can't go to the Poor Law establishments or that they would rather die. The gentlemen, saying he might know, provide the reader with an assumption that soon Scrooge will come to see that what they say is true.

    13. At the ominous word “liberality,” Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

      According to the oxford English dictionary "liberality" means the quality of giving or spending freely. This refers to Scrooge and Marley being thought to have been generous owners of the accounting office, willing to spare contributions for the poor. Men in such positions were expected to live with a certain liberality. Ominous means the worrying impression of something bad to come. Together these key words portray the irony of how Scrooge is vs how he was assumed to be by the two portly gentlemen. These words also foreshadow the terrifying visits Scrooge later receives, partly due to his lack of liberality.

  3. Oct 2016
    1. 232And some had sworn an oath that she 233Should be to public justice brought; 234And for the little infant’s bones 235With spades they would have sought.

      After much use of repetition, the speaker remarks on the promises of others that justice should be brought among Martha, speculating that she must have committed an awful crime. The search for the infant's bones drawls much attention to the conclusion of a burial as if the mystery was already solved. These given oaths by the people emphasize Wordsworth's view on how repetition creates a truth once something is believed enough, since the mind clings on to repeated words and phrases of what is not known. Hence the infant's fate is unknown, yet throughout this whole poem, the constant use of similar phrases almost gives a sure answer, as that is all the reader can hold on to. for any sense in guidance and amplified emotion.

    2. 199 I did not speak—I saw her face, 200In truth it was enough for me;

      Here is more use of repetition through imagery. Looking upon the face of the weeping Martha, the speaker seems convinced that she indeed buried her infant, as though her despair was as evident as the storm about the land. This discovery from the speaker only presses on the reader's emotions more and more, creating truth in the mystery of Martha's infant.

    3. 36 A beauteous heap, a hill of moss, 37Just half a foot in height.

      The hill may surely represent the the grave of Martha's infant, given it's size of only half a foot in height. Certainly plenty of room to bury an infant. Such symbolism could give reason to why Martha feels the need to visit the hill so often, crying in misery. The height of the hill seems to refer to how hidden it was from anyone's view, as though only Martha knew of the grave's existence. The hill could also reflect a part of the infant, with the tufts of moss as hair, shaken grass as its motion, and the cries heard by others as the infants cry for its mother. I believe such descriptions refer to how Wordsworth uses repetition, this time through imagery, to help the reader view the hill differently, enough to finally believe it does represent a grave and that Martha perhaps did do away with her infant and bury it there. http://wallpaperstock.net/hilltop-sunset_wallpapers_31922_1920x1200_1.html

    4. in tempest

      The tempest is defined as a violent storm, which the speaker uses to question why poor Martha still goes to the top of the mountain. This horrid weather symbolizes Martha's anguish and the different elements of precipitation, such as the rain and snow, correlate to the strong emotion Martha shows towards the infant. https://makingroomforgod.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/storm.jpg

  4. Sep 2016
    1. O joy!

      The speaker is filled with excitement that, even as he's grown older, retaining memories of his childhood has allowed him to access to the innocence and imagination experienced at youth #UPG19cBrit

    2. Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

      The speaker portrays that in our youth we our filled with some memory of heaven and come to grips with its magic spread throughout the earth. This ties back into the poem, conveying how people dwell in a place of purity before they are sent to Earth. Also how as children grow older they forget where they came from due to indulging in worldly pleasures #UPG19cBrit

    1. O pure of heart!

      The speaker indicates that the Lady is "pure of heart" to convey how knowledgeable she is about the joys of the soul. This is relevant to how the speaker lacks such insight on these joys due to the nature of his numb soul, struggling to feel any emotion #UPG19cBrit

    2. outward forms

      Coleridge speaks of "outward forms" as superficial objects outside of the physical body. This refers to how the green lit sky will not raise the speaker's feelings because according to him, emotions only come from within #UPG19cBrit

    1. 'TIS past! The sultry tyrant of the south Has spent his short-lived rage; more grateful hours Move silent on; the skies no more repel The dazzled sight, but with mild maiden beams Of temper'd light, invite the cherish'd eye To wander o'er their sphere;

      The narrator describes a sunset. The setting of the tyrannical sun, bringing about the more enjoyable hours of nightfall where an onlooker is invited to gaze up at the night sky with their thoughts. #UPG19cBrit