London in a Christmas Carol

Read the following extract from Chapter 1 of A Christmas Carol and then answer the question that follows. In this extract, the narrator is describing the streets outside Scrooge’s office on Christmas Eve. Starting with this extract, explore how Dickens presents London in A Christmas Carol. Meanwhile the fog  and darkness thickened so, that people  ran about with flaring  links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a Church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out of a gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds , with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The cold became intense. In the main street, at the corner of the court, some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowings sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice. The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed. Poulterers’ and grocers’ trades became a splendid joke: a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor’s household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up to-morrow’s pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef. Write about: • how Dickens presents London in this extract • how Dickens presents Londonin the novel as a whole.

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