A Christmas Carol

“A Christmas Carol” is a timeless story. It does take place during a Victorian era, but the situation of the characters and the lessons learned at the end of this story can be applied to more recent societies. This story has become very traditional during the holidays and is shown in children films, but it does deal with poverty, guilt, and dealing with death. This story is set to take place during the holidays which should make it more touching and have a stronger connection to these spirits appearing to Scrooge and giving him a chance to change before it is too late.

I think it is ironic how Bob Cratchit is described, he is poor with many worries but kind, his situation does not make him hateful. On the other hand, the description the narrator gives us about Scrooge: “Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, 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.” He does not have a big family, and has money but he would never be generous, the narrator compares him to a flint which would not even put up a good amount of fire even if he could. From the tone of this I think that the narrator does not like Scrooge because it sounds judgmental and maybe sarcastic, like she/he does not see any good in being as “solitary as an oyster.”

“A Christmas Carol” is trying to say something about the high class society, and the working class in the Victorian era, and it is difficult to not side with the poor family. Scrooge is given a chance to say what his opinion is that should be done with the poor when he is asked for a donation, “”If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don’t know that.'” He is harsh, and careless about others and the story also mentions that he does not mind that people avoid him. He needed a chance to see how people truly felt about him and it bothers him that nobody cares that he is dead, but instead they are relieved and hope their debt has died with him. I think that this story in more recent times has become traditional and picked up for being about a man who is helped to find his Christmas sprit  as shown in movies and children’s books rather than looked at as an example of a class system more, but at the same time we are reading about how a working class worries about money, and how a rich man holds on to his  wealth risking relationships and only lets it go when he sees life after his death. He sees he could have helped a struggling family. These three sprits prove their point to Scrooge and he changes when he finally falls to his knees and asks for another chance.

Even though this story does not focus on Tiny Tim, he is symbolic. He is not miserable even though he is in a bad condition. By the end of the story and Scrooges journey he becomes better and does not die the way the ghosts showed Scrooge, and they become friends. The conclusion of this story is very happy; my opinion is that the ghosts that appear could be a strong conscious Scrooge has about his personality, like a reality slap which is life changing.

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This picture is from a Christmas display from a Macy’s in Philadelphia. I am pretty sure that Herald Square has put up displays about “A Christmas Carol” up but I could not find any of those pictures. During the holidays these displays are very popular and the show the whole story, this one specifically leading up to gaining generosity and holiday spirit. This picture shows the ghosts. More pictures are on this site. 

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5 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol

  1. Nathan

    Besides for death, expanding one’s appreciation of the other in the world may help offset a single mindedness, evidenced specifically here towards money. I think the lost love, and the courage of Tiny Tim, coupled with the realization of himself as a changeable human allows Scrooge to shake himself free of his Scroogeyness. In a way I am jealous of the ability of Scrooge to see his future and his past which allows him to realize his biases and the trajectory its leading him on. That is an invaluable asset.

  2. Kimberly Sciacca

    I do agree that the unbalanced class system is in play here, considering that one of the first things that Scrooge does after waking up on Christmas morning is pay to give Bob Crachit a turkey and he offers to donate to the charities which he wouldn’t have even considered before. The quote you mentioned in your third paragraph, I thought had a bit of foreshadowing to the possible death of Tiny Tim. Once Scrooge sees how sickly the boy is, with the second ghost, he immediately asks about the boy dying., which ironically would probably be a similar cause to which he was asked to donate. Seeing that helped to change his mind, not only about Bob Crachit and Tiny Tim, but donating to other charities as well. I loved the pictures, exactly what I had pictures when I saw the ghosts in my head.

  3. mlfiloramo

    Cool picture! Sort of reminded me of Halloween… then, of course, Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

    I think you bring up a very strong, arguable point about the tradition of the story losing its substance over time. I remember watching Disney’s “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and thinking that the moral to be learned from the story was how a grumpy old rich guy found his Christmas spirit and learned how to love others again around the holidays. Or something like that. Also reminded me of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. But I have to agree with you, there are many class-focused undertones throughout the story.

    As for the states of consciousness that you mentioned, again I commend you on your insight–that hadn’t even remotely dawned on me! But it’s definitely an interesting way to look at the story, how the ghosts could just be Scrooge’s intuition through dreams or dream-like states.

    I find it ironic how Tiny Tim has so little, yet he isn’t even half as miserable as Scrooge–who has all the money! More money, more problems, eh?

  4. Jason Tougaw

    Sunjida: I think you’re right that Scrooge’s apparently altered states of consciousness are one way to discuss the novella in relation to Jane Eyre. I’d also be curious to hear what people think about Dickens’s narrator in relation to Austen’s and Brontë’s.

  5. Sunjida

    I agree, “A Christmas Carol” is a timeless story. One does not have to read the book to know about the famous Ebenezer Scrooge. His name is associated with not only Christmas, but those who display avaricious and haughty qualities during the holidays or in general. Compared to Emma and Jane Eyre it is a shorter and simpler read. However, my question is how does this relate to the other texts we read? If in some way we are going to relate the texts, we will most likely concentrate on Scrooge’s deep sleep, his conscious or conscience and the three ghosts. As for “A Christmas Carol”, I find it interesting how ghosts who are usually characterized as gloomy, dark, or even sad are the ones to guide Scrooge into realizing that his miserable and equally or even worse dark and gloomy life is going to lead to his ultimate demise. I guess one needs the presence of death to realize that life should not be wasted on material obsessions.

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