A Christmas Carol

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Images of Age and Youth Symbol Analysis

Images of Age and Youth Symbol Icon
Dickens was especially aware of the plight of poor children in the 19th century, and children appear in the story as symbols of the ruined youth of Industrial Capitalism. The youths of Ignorance and Want are especially clear representations of these problems. And Tiny Tim is a lasting symbol of the power of goodness and generosity to overcome adversity. Putting these large themes in the figures of children emphasizes the tragedy of the premature suffering of the Victorian youth, affected by the grinding poverty created by the Industrial Revolution and England's poverty laws which made being in debt a crime punishable by forcing debtors into working houses. The story is also populated with images of age, which taunt Scrooge with the idea of the past and of his approaching death. The Ghost of Christmas Past is a strange mixture of the two, both elderly and childlike.
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Images of Age and Youth Symbol Timeline in A Christmas Carol

The timeline below shows where the symbol Images of Age and Youth appears in A Christmas Carol. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Stave 2
Past, Present and Future – The Threat of Time Theme Icon
Greed, Generosity and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christmas and Tradition Theme Icon
This new ghost appears as if through “some supernatural medium”, giving his aged features child-like proportions. He has white hair, but smooth skin. He wears a glowing white... (full context)
Greed, Generosity and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christmas and Tradition Theme Icon
...over the scenes of Scrooge’s boyhood. The ghost is wise and motherly, and Scrooge becomes childlike in his care. He feels like he is surrounded by ghostly “odours”, full of hopes... (full context)
Stave 3
Past, Present and Future – The Threat of Time Theme Icon
Greed, Generosity and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christmas and Tradition Theme Icon
...conditions the revelers are in. But as they travel, the Ghost of Christmas Present is noticeably aging . He says his brief life will be over at midnight. (full context)
Past, Present and Future – The Threat of Time Theme Icon
Greed, Generosity and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Social Dissatisfaction and the Poor Laws Theme Icon
...and time passes, Scrooge notices something strange under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robe. Two children creep out. They are miserable animals, so sick and shriveled that they look old instead... (full context)
Stave 4
Family Theme Icon
Greed, Generosity and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Christmas and Tradition Theme Icon
...Scrooge realizes that Tiny Tim has died. Bob is due home but one of the children says he’s been walking slower recently, and they all agree that he used to go... (full context)