Social Darwinism And Its Role In A Christmas Carol
Social Darwinism is disharmony among social groups. The idea that the rich or those who have a higher quality of education are somehow better and more powerful than the poor or those who are unschooled or uncultured. I feel there is a misconception that the rich work harder and the poor are just lazy. You will probably find that a lot of those who are poor or lower class often work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. In “A Christmas Carol” there were a few scenarios in the book that illustrated Social Darwinism of which I will discuss.
One of the first scenarios that I noticed was when Scrooge and Cratchit were at work, two businessmen stopped by to see if Mr. Scrooge , and asked of him to make a charitable donation to the poor. In their conversation with Mr. Scrooge they told him that “many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts”.Of which Mr. Scrooge replied, “are there no prisons; and the workhouses, are they still in operation”? This response took the men by surprise and they replied by telling Mr. Scrooge that “many can’t go there; and many would rather die”. To which Mr. Scrooge replied, “if they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus of the population”. For Mr. Scrooge to insinuate that he would rather the poor just go somewhere and die than to help them, as perhaps that is just one more less mouth to feed, to me shows Social Darwinism. Mr. Scrooge looked upon the poor as lazy stating “I can’t afford to make idle people merry”. He did however express that he would support the establishments that the poor could go to for help but was not willing to personally give a contribution toward the individuals themselves. It seemed that Ebenezer Scrooge would rather it be someone elses problem, even though he did very grudgingly “support the establishments, they cost me enough, and those who are badly off shoud go there”. Mr. Scrooge could have done so much good with his money but instead chose to be greedy with it and only looked after himself and his needs instead of trying to help others.
Another scenario that stood out to me that showed Social Darwinism was how Mr. Scrooges treated his apprentice, Bob Cratchit. Cratchit worked very long hours for little wages. The conditions he worked under were harsh too, in that it was wintertime and the office they worked in was cold. Mr. Scrooge was very stingy with his coal and would not share enough for Cratchit to be able to stay warm while working. Mr. Scrooge was also reluctant to give Cratchit Christmas Day off stating it was “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December”. Ebenezer Scrooge was an all-around bad boss. He worked Cratchit to the bone, didn’t provide a comfortable environment of which to work, never wanted to give a holiday off and gave no appreciation for a job well done. Mr. Scrooge was so focused on making money that he didn’t care about anyone but himself, which is a very sad way to live. I get a sense that the relationship that Mr. Scrooge had with his previous business partner Marley was one of an equal partnership than the one he had with Cratchit. Ebenezer Scrooge could have taken the opportunity to make Cratchit a friend and business partner like he had in Marley but instead it seems he chose to take out his frustration and bitterness on him.
It wasn’t until Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by the Ghost of Christmas past, present and future that he sees just how horrible of a person he has become, and that if he doesn’t start to make changes, he is going to die a lonely old mand. I get a sense that Ebenezer Scrooged never felt secure and loved as a child, and this may have played a part in how he treated others. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how rich or educated you are, you should still treat everyone with kindness and respect.
In conclusion, Social Darwinism, in my opinion, is still misconstrued in our society today as in was in the Eighteen Hundreds.