Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Committee Chair

Dr. Alexandra Valint

Committee Chair Department

English

Committee Member 2

Dr. Eric Tribunella

Committee Member 2 Department

English

Committee Member 3

Dr. Katherine Cochran

Committee Member 3 Department

English

Abstract

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843), an example of Victorian Gothic literature, portrays spirits escorting Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey through time in order to transform him from a miser to a benefactor. Dickens’s text has received much critical attention, and while most critics agree that the novella includes various elements of the gothic, few draw attention to the possibility of the child characters as gothic elements. I argue that Carol’s child characters can be read in terms of what Margarita Georgieva calls “the gothic child.” According to Georgieva, the gothic child can be an adult’s memory from childhood or a character that illustrates the connection between adulthood and childhood. Building on Georgieva’s work, I imagine the gothic child as a character who helps Scrooge reach a moral reawakening by revealing to him his past, as well as truths society refuses to acknowledge. In Carol, the gothic child characters assist in the reformation of Scrooge through the embodiment and manipulation of well-known elements of the gothic genre such as the uncanny, the abhuman body, dismantled binaries, and monstrosity. Although most critics credit Scrooge’s transformation to the three Christmas spirits who visit him, I argue that the novella’s gothic child characters have an equally important role in assisting Scrooge with his reclamation.

Share

COinS