Original Research

Redemption and the imagination of childhood: Dickens’s representation of children in A Christmas Carol

David E. Robinson
Literator | Vol 37, No 1 | a1307 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v37i1.1307 | © 2016 David E. Robinson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2016 | Published: 10 November 2016

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David E. Robinson, Department of Education and Curriculum Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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This article considers the representation of children in Dickens’s most famous Christmas book. Central to the article is a consideration of historical circumstances in which the book was written, as well as Dickens’s own childhood, and the possibility of redemption through the force of the imagination from the negative consequences of social circumstances and personal choices. The changing conception of the Victorian child, from a conception of sinfulness to that of innocence, provides historical and theoretical positioning of the literary work. The role of childhood memory and its influence on Dickens’s work is presented. The work of Edmund Wilson and the children’s literary scholar Adrienne Gavin is included in this consideration of the short novel.


Dickens; A Christmas Carol; literary imagination; representation of children; Edmund Wilson; Adrienne Gavin


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