A Christmas Carol– Plot summary
A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one evening. Mr Scrooge is a financier/money-changer who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. He holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and the Christmas season.
Ebenezer Scrooge encounters “Ignorance” and “Want” in A Christmas CarolIn keeping with the musical analogy of the title, A Christmas Carol, Dickens divides his literary work into five “staves” instead of chapters. This is a little joke Dickens has carried out throughout the story, it adds humour to the story and links in because, a stave is something you will find in a piece of music, and a “carol” is a type of music/song.
Stave I – Marley’s Ghost
The story begins by establishing that Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s business partner in the firm of Scrooge & Marley, was dead—the narrative begins seven years after his death to the very day, Christmas Eve. Scrooge and his clerk Bob Cratchit are at work in the counting house, with Cratchit stationed in the poorly heated “tank”, a victim of his employer’s stinginess. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, enters to wish his uncle a “Merry Christmas” and invite him to Christmas dinner the next day. He is dismissed by his relative with “Bah! Humbug!” among other unpleasantness, declaring Christmas time to be a fraud. Two “portly gentlemen”, collecting charitable donations for the poor, come in afterwards, but they too are rebuffed by Scrooge, who points out that the poor laws and workhouses are sufficient to care for the poor. When Scrooge is told that many would rather die than go there, he mercilessly responds, “If they would rather die … they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” At the end of the workday, Scrooge grudgingly allows Cratchit to take Christmas Day off, but to arrive to work all the earlier on the day after. Scrooge leaves the counting-house, eats dinner at his usual tavern, and returns to his home, an isolated town house formerly owned by his late business partner, Jacob Marley. In keeping with his miserly character, Scrooge lives in a small suite of largely unfurnished rooms within the house which he keeps dark and cold since “darkness is cheap” (the rest of the rooms in the building having been let out as offices).
One of the most memorable days of my life was the Christmas of 2007. I woke up to the bright sunlight seeping through my window, and I knew today would be a Christmas I would never forget. The weather was fit for the season with fresh white snow gently falling from the sky, as I looked out the foggy window. I remembered this Christmas as if it happened yesterday. The night before Christmas I ...
While he unlocks his door Scrooge is startled to see the ghostly face of Marley instead of the familiar appearance of his door knocker. This is just the beginning of Scrooge’s harrowing night. As Scrooge climbs the staircase of his house he thinks he sees a locomotive hearse charging up the stairs before him in the dark. As he gets to his room, puts on his dressing gown, and eats his gruel by the fireplace, he sees the carvings on his mantelpiece transform into images of Jacob Marley’s face. All of the bells in the house begin to ring loudly. When they stop he then hears a clanking noise. His cellar door opens loudly and then the clanking on the stairs coming upstairs and approaches his room. Marley’s ghost passes through the door and appears before Scrooge. Marley has come to warn Scrooge that his miserliness and contempt for others will subject him to the same fate Marley himself suffers in death: condemned to walk the earth in penitence since he had not done it in life in concern for mankind. A prominent symbol of Marley’s torture is a heavy chain wound around his form that has attached to it symbolic objects from Marley’s life fashioned out of heavy metal: ledgers, money boxes, keys, and the like. Marley explains that Scrooge’s fate might be worse than his because Scrooge’s chain was as long and as heavy as Marley’s seven Christmases ago when Marley died, and Scrooge has been adding to his with his selfish life. Marley tells Scrooge that he has a chance to escape this fate through the visitation of three more spirits that will appear one by one. Scrooge is shaken but not entirely convinced that the foregoing was no hallucination, and goes to bed thinking that a good night’s sleep will make him feel better.
A Christmas Carol is a tale on the subject of change. It is a quite simple story based on an intervallic narrative composition in which all of the major chapters have a clear, fixed symbolic connotation. Dickens’ much-loved short story A Christmas Carol was printed in 1843, along with the purpose of getting the attention of the reader to the dilemma of England’s underprivileged people. ...
Stave II – The First of the Three Spirits
Scrooge wakes in the night and the bells of the neighbouring church strike twelve. The first spirit appears and introduces himself as the Ghost of Christmas Past. His personal appearance is very interesting; he looks like a young boy, but at the same time, he looks old. His hair is white (tied in a ponytail), but he has no wrinkles. This spirit leads Scrooge on a journey into some of the happiest and saddest moments of Scrooge’s past, events that would largely shape the current Scrooge. These include the mistreatment of Scrooge by his uncaring father (who did not allow his son to return home from boarding school, not even at Christmas and was abusive according to his sister, Little Fan), the loss of a great love sacrificed for his devotion to business, and the death of his sister, the only other person who ever showed love and compassion for him who picked him up at boarding school to go home at Christmas. Unable to stand these painful memories and his growing regret of them, Scrooge covers the spirit with the cap (which was made by the sins of man and had a beam of light coming out of the top) it carries and he is returned to his room, where he falls asleep. He also noticed that the light of the cap had never extinguished and this is a symbol because it is foreshadowing that Scrooge’s light in him will never be extinguished (his hope will never die).
Stave III – The Second of the Three Spirits
Scrooge wakes at the stroke of one. After more than fifteen minutes, he rises and finds the second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, in an adjoining room. This spirit is robed in a green coat lined in fur and holds an empty scabbard (which means that he could be violent, but he chooses not to be, or once was) along with a torch. The spirit shows him the meagre Christmas celebrations of the Cratchit family, the sweet nature of their lame son Tiny Tim, and a possible early death for the child; this prospect is the immediate catalyst for his change of heart. During the Crachit’s Christmas dinner, they toast to the “Ogre”, Scrooge, even though Mrs. Cratchit doesn’t like Scrooge. Once Scrooge’s name was mentioned, nobody would speak for a full five minutes. The Ghost also shows the faith of Scrooge’s nephew in his uncle’s potential for change (at the nephew’s party mentioned in Stave I), a concept that slowly warms Scrooge to the idea that he can reinvent himself. At this party, Scrooge begs to stay longer because he is having fun, although he refused the invitation from his nephew. To further drive the point, the Ghost reveals two pitiful children who huddle under his robes which personify the major causes of suffering in the world, “Ignorance” and “Want”, with a grim warning that the former is especially harmful. At the end of the visitation, the bell strikes twelve. The Ghost of Christmas Present vanishes and the third spirit appears to Scrooge.
A Christmas Carol In the timeless tale, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens focuses upon the extreme transformation of a character named Ebenezer Scrooge. The author raises many themes among which is the theme of harmatia that we are going to focus our research upon. The fact that several moralistic themes can be applied throughout the novel confirms why it is a classic. The first significant ...
Stave IV – The Last of the Three Spirits
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come takes the form of a grim spectre, completely robed in black, who does not speak and whose body is entirely hidden except for one pointing hand. This spirit frightens Scrooge more than the others, and harrows him with visions of the Cratchit family bereft of Tiny Tim, of Scrooge’s own lonely death and final torment, and the cold, avaricious reactions of the people around him after his passing (they joke about his death and funeral).
Without its explicitly being said, Scrooge learns that he can avoid the future he has been shown, and alter the fate of Tiny Tim—but only if he changes.
Stave V – The End of it
In the end, Scrooge changes his life and reverts to the generous, kind-hearted soul he was in his youth before the death of his sister. He anonymously sends the Cratchits the biggest turkey the butcher has, meets the charity workers to pledge an apparently impressive amount of money to their delight, and spends Christmas Day with Fred and his wife.
The hyperbolic description of Scrooge in the early stages of the book is used to describe a large proportion of those who were better off in Victorian London. Scrooge is a 'squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner'. Dickens uses the present participle extremely effectively here as he is writing it in a way that he might describe Scrooge if he was talking aloud. ...
The next day after Christmas, Scrooge arrives at work early. Cratchit is late and Scrooge pretends at first to be his old selfish self, but then tells Cratchit that he is going to raise his salary. Cratchit is shocked and Scrooge wishes him a Merry Christmas.
In the denouement, Scrooge proves to be better than his word and gains a fine reputation as a kind and generous man who embodies the spirit of Christmas in his life. In addition, Tiny Tim, who lives thanks to Scrooge’s assistance, becomes very close to the old man.