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A Christmas Carol

Discussion in 'English' started by hardbastard, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. hardbastard

    hardbastard New commenter

    I'd avoid doing this text altogether. I did it with my GCSE re-sitters (80+ students, mainly comprising of 16 and 17yr olds) and they just didn't get it. Don't show them The Muppets Christmas Carol either. It just confuses issues. Students will write in their essays about 'the bit in whick Kermit the Frog asks Scrooge to put some coal on the fire.' Some of the essays were terrible. One lad of ok-ability wrote 'Dickens tried to get the film banned as people were making pirate copies of the DVD' (I'm not joking and nor was he).
    Yes, I know it's the simplest story in the world, but...
    Anyway, I did the essay question: 'Why is 'A Christmas Carol often credited as helping to return Christmas to the levels of poplarity it had once enjoyed in England during the Victorian era?' (or something along those lines) but this easy-enough task was just much too much for most. It's a good one to get the social and historical stuff out (you can explore why Christmas celebrations were, in effect, banned, some several hundred years before and why Dickens wanted the festive season to 'return' to Victorian England etc - even though the ban was lifted around three decades later, we believe that Christmas became a very 'lowkey' festival in Britain for much of the 18th and 19th century). You can also explore the very idealistic way Dickens presents Christmas in the text (The Cratchet dinner party scene, the opening part where Fred goes on and on and on about how Christmas is a time of charity and giving) and I'm boring myself just writing this....
    Scrooge and relationships is hard because, well, he doesn't really have any. He had one with Jacob Marley (personally, I think they were gay lovers), but that's about it. I suppose the term 'relationship' is a subjective one - A relationship of sorts exists between him and Mr Cratchet but they're not exactly best mates.
    I'd think on on this one Miss.
  2. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    I'd ask the question - "In what way is A Christmas Carol about Christianity?"
    I don't think Jesus is mentioned once - it's a socialist morality story, with Scrooge as the evil 'Everycapitalist' balanced against the long-suffering Cratchits and the good Mr Fezziwig.
    Scrooge's only relationship is with money.
    And if you're going to show them a film, make sure it's the Alastair Sim!

  3. it's a great novella and provided the question relates to relationships (as u requested) rather than the millions of other social/ christmas issues you could delve into, it will work brilliantly. How he destroys, then repairs relationships throughout the novel for example, and the process by which this happens (plus reasons why etc) - i think that's more what ur after?!
    worked a treat with mine! just stay focussed on that task and don't get side tracked (too much) and other poster was right - muppets carol has no place in prep for such an essay but ive used other versions with success
  4. laticsbird

    laticsbird New commenter

    Hi everyone and thanks for all your suggestions.

    medina - I was actually thinking along the lines you suggested. Something about the way that although Scrooge doesn't really have a relationship with anyone at the beginning of the novel but because of the situations that the Spirits show him - the positive relationships people experience with each other and family relationships - he becomes a changed man and 'recognises the error of his ways' so to speak. I thought this would be better for my set.

    Thank you all again;)

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