The Ultimate GCSE A Christmas Carol Guide

A Christmas Carol

Cosy Christmas story? Well, it’s not for the supernaturally disinclined, but Dickens assuredly exploits the power of a joyful atmosphere to overcome the haunting gloominess of life. It’s a novella that has a special place in classrooms and homes whatever the time of year, exactly as its author intended.

Christmas Cheer or Christmas Fear?

It’s widely acknowledged that Dickens’ use of Christmas spirits as a force for change is both festive and frightening in equal measure. He penned a tale about the evils of ignorance, the merciless exploitation of employees and an unforgiving class divide: themes that certainly aren’t Christmassy, or rather not just for Christmas! A deceptively simple tale from a self-proclaimed advocate of education and protector of children belies a scathing allegorical commentary of Victorian society. Dickens’ keen social conscience pervades the pages of this well-loved read with messages that are uncannily relevant, even today.

Of course, the context of the novella is crucial to a thorough understanding of Dickens’ messages. Our guide helps you to understand what inspired Dickens to write the story in the first place. Characters come to life on the page in the illustrated Who’s Who section, where the characters are considered as constructs, designed to symbolise attitudes and stereotypes within Victorian society. As you learn about each character’s role in the story, a set of handy key words will help to prompt clear references in an exam scenario. We try to make complicated quotations easier, too.

Our interactive guide to A Christmas Carol offers illustrated stave summaries and thinking points, providing quick but thorough revision. And our themed pages consider issues like the importance of charity during the Christmas season: perhaps the reality is that the assumed joy of the season only highlights the misery faced by the poorest members of society, such as the desperate servants who sell Scrooge’s belongings. Quick questions are helpfully scattered throughout the guide, to test your knowledge and keep learning fresh.

The four key themes of this guide are Poverty and Social Injustice, The Christmas Spirit, Family and Transformation & Redemption. Each part is organised into consistent sections of Context, Key Quotes, Mini Exams, Exam Question and Sample Answers, making it easy to find your way around it.

Everything You Need to be Exam Ready

As we say, our guide to A Christmas Carol takes you through some handy mini exams, each of which contains sample answers; take ten minutes to answer these and practise those key response skills. You should also find it particularly useful to have colour-coded responses that clearly demonstrate how the assessment objectives of the mark scheme have been met and can be confident in what the assessment objectives are asking you to do. And, crucially, understanding what the examiner wants to see, and having it demonstrated, is priceless exam preparation. Even more useful is for you to then consider how the responses might be further improved.

It’s not always cosy, but we can make revising A Christmas Carol interactive and easy!

We’ve even created a range of A Christmas Carol Revision Videos, which aim to help you revise the key themes and concepts!

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