A Christmas Carol



A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens about Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man, who is well-known for his miserly (ungenerous) ways.On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visted by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. The three spirits which follow, Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, show Scrooge how his mean behaviour has affected those around him. At the end of the story he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change and we see him transformed into a generous and kind-hearted human being.

Key Plot;

  • Scrooge makes Cratchit work in cold and Scrooge refuses to give to charity
  • Scrooge is haunted by Marley
  • Visit from Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come
  • Scrooge mends his ways and then Scrooge is redeemed
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The main character in the novella is Ebenezer Scrooge. At first we see his miserliness (desire to save money) in contrast with his humble clerk, Bob Cratchit, and his cheerful nephew, Fred. The ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, warns Scrooge that he will be visited by 3 spirts. The Ghost of Christmas Present, the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come all show Scrooge scenes that ultimately bring about his change of character. He is particularly moved by Bob Cratchit's family and his son, Tiny Tim, to whom he eventually becomes like a second father.

Main; Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Crathit, Fred (Scrooge's nephew)

Secondary; Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, Ghost of Yet to Come, Tiny Tim

Minor; Jacob Marley, Belle, The charity collectors, Fezziwig, Fan (Scrooge's sister) 

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Ebenezer Scrooge;

  • Cold-hearted, 'No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him', Dickens uses pathetic fallacy to represent Scrooge's nature. The weather is a metaphor of Scrooge's behaviour as he cannot be made either warner or colder by it.
  • Ill-mannered, 'Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and burried with a stake of holly through his heart', He cannot accpet the generosity that is offered to him and instead turns images of Christmas into images of violence.

Scrooge is first presented as an ungenerous, unpleasent man. He rejects all offerings of Christmas cheer and celebrations as 'Humbug!'. On Christmas Eve he is visted by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns that he will be visted by 3 ghosts. Each of the ghosts shows him a scene that strikes fear and regret into his heart and eventually he softens. By the end of the story, Scrooge is a changed man, sharing his wealth and generosity with eeveryone. Scrooge is Miserble and Tight-fisted.

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Bob Cratchit;

  • Obedient, (doesn't complain) 'tried to warm himself at the candle', His efforts to warm himself at the candle are pitiful. He would prefer to do this than challenge Scrooge.
  • Generous, 'I'll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!', Scrooge is too ungenerous to offer his clerk a decent wage, but Cratchit is generous enough to be grateful to his boss.
  • Sensitive, 'My little, little, child!' cried Bob. 'My little child!', The repetition of 'little' adds to the sad effect of Bob's cry. We feel sympathy for him at this point.

Bob Cratchit is Scrooge's clerk and works in unpleasent conditions without complaint. He obeys Scrooge's rules and is timid about asking to go home to his family early on Christmas Eve. When the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to visit the Cractchits on Christmas Day, he sees Bob Cratchit carrying his sickly son, Tiny Tim, and later raising a toast to Scrooge for providing the feast. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows the Cratchits in a future where Tiny Tim has died and here we see how sensitive Bob Cratchit is, His love for his son is shown through his grief. In the end, when Scrooge changes his ways for better, Bob Cratchit is delighted. He welcomes Scrooge's new-found generosity and friendship. Bob is humble and hardworking.

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  • Cheerful
  • Generous
  • Kind-hearted
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Oli Wood


Extremely helpful for revision, rated 5/5.

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