Quotes are a huge part of English Literature exams, and it’s important to know how to use them appropriately. It might be tempting to just add quote after quote, but this isn’t what will get you the top scores. You need to select your quotes carefully and with intention. If you have nothing to say about it or don’t really understand it, don’t use it! This blog will go through some of the key A Christmas Carol quotes for GCSE English Literature essays and examples of the kind of analysis that you might write.
In your exam, you will be given an excerpt of A Christmas Carol to analyse. To answer the question and get the highest marks, you will need to choose quotes from the excerpt carefully to support your answer. You’ll also have a second bullet point about the novella in broader terms. For this question, you will have to use quotes from throughout the novella, so it’s essential that you have some A Christmas Carol quotes and an analysis of them ready.
When analysing quotes, keep these questions in mind:
- What literary techniques are used in this quote?
- Why did the author decide to use those techniques?
- What effect has been created?
- Are there any themes from the novella that shine through in this quote?
We’ll look at A Christmas Carol quote from each stave and analyse it so that you have an idea of how to do it in your exam.
“External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge” – Stave 1
This is both a literal description of Scrooge, as he doesn’t heat his office or home, but also a description of his personality. The friendliness of his nephew has no effect on his mood, and he reacts coldly to the people around him. The literary device used in this quote is an example of a subtle metaphor and it quickly describes Scrooge in a few words. Automatically, the reader has an idea of who Scrooge is as a person. One of the themes that can be seen in this quote is that of loneliness – Scrooge is an outsider to society.
“‘Another idol has displaced me…a golden one’” – Stave 2, Belle
This quote comes when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Belle, Scrooge’s fiancée, realising that Scrooge’s love for her has been replaced by greed. The main points to think about with this quote are the themes of religion and greed. The use of “idol” shows that Scrooge used to worship Belle, but now worships “a golden one” – money and wealth. The quote also supports the theme of loneliness and how some of that is Scrooge’s own doing.
“Brave in ribbons” – Stave 3
Much like the quote from Stave 1, this quote has two meanings, as brave in the 1800s also meant showy or splendid. The quote describes Mrs Cratchit and her daughter and how they are dressed for their Christmas meal. They are bravely putting in an effort with their outfits and Christmas celebrations despite their lack of money. The quote uses emotive language and shows the themes of Christmas spirit and poverty. If you’re looking for more support for A Christmas Carol quotes following the theme of poverty, check out this video.
“Unwatched, unwept, uncared for” – Stave 4
This quote describes the dead body of a man who is assumed to be Scrooge. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge this body straight after showing the Cratchit family mourning the loss of Tiny Tim. The emotive language and repetition show how alone Scrooge is in death, just as he was in life. The repetition is especially effective because it reminds us of the repetitive theme of loneliness.
“‘God bless Us, Every One!’” – Stave 5
This famous line is the final sentence of the novella, said by Tiny Tim. The capitalisation of the letters shows how important each word is, as well as the use of the exclamation point. The use of ‘us’ signifies inclusion, showing that Scrooge is no longer isolated and is welcomed into society and the Cratchit family.
We hope that these A Christmas Carol quotes and analysis for GCSE English exams have helped you feel more confident when writing about quotes. Trying to remember a few quotes from each stave can feel a bit overwhelming, but these A Christmas Carol Quotation Quiz Flashcards can help you out. Another useful tool is this A Christmas Carol Quote Crossword – revising A Christmas Carol quotes for GCSE exams can feel boring after a while, so a fun crossword can break the monotony!
Good luck with your exams, we know you’ll smash it!
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