Welcome to The Hard Times
Charles Dickens

Issue Number: CD-001

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Mr Dickens and Imagery

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

Mr Dickens uses IMAGERY to make his description of Scrooge even more effective.

Imagery is when the writer creates a picture in the reader's mind with words (another way of describing a picture is to call it an image).

Here's a definition from the dictionary:

Singular     imagery
Plural          imageries
A set of mental pictures or images.

Mr Dickens has used a lot of words about cold weather to describe Scrooge e.g. frosty, cold.
It makes us think that Scrooge is even more of a cold, hard and selfish person.

He has also described the way people can be affected by cold weather e.g.' made his eyes red, his thin lips blue'.


  1. Download the above text.
  2. Underline all the cold weather imagery in the text.
  3. Save your work.
  4. Return to The Hard Times (Activity 6)
  5. download text

You might like to look at this text, also from 'A Christmas Carol' and see if you can see more examples of how Mr Dickens uses imagery.

A Christmas Carol

Please read the following text:

'Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The cold became intense. In the main street at the corner of the court, some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowing sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice.'

You can use this extract to identify a number of the other language features that you have studied.

Download the above text.download the above text

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