Finding Joy in a Life of Poverty
Examples from A Christmas Carol
"They were not a handsome family, they were not well dressed, their shoes were far from being waterproof, their clothes were scanty, and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time;..."
Mrs. Cratchit dressed for Christmas dinner in her best attire. This included a ragged and well worn dress made special with ribbons which can be bought for very cheap. Master Peter Cratchit also dressed in his most formal clothing for the celebration. This included his father's shirt-collar which was much to big on him, but his nicest nonetheless.
"Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, Cratchit's wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for six-pence, and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons, while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt-collar (Bob's private property, conferred upon his son and heir in honor of the day) into his mouth, rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired, and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks."
In the introduction of A Christmas Carol is an overview of "The Life and Work of Charles Dickens." In this we learn that when Dickens was 12 his father was placed in debtor's prison for a period of three months, and the rest of the family lived their with him. Charles, however worked in a shoe polish factory at that time. It is believed that Dickens draws from this time of his life when writing descriptions of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, meaning the element of poverty in A Christmas Carol comes from first-hand experience.