Scrooge’s Change in ‘a Christmas Carol’
In the novel A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is a man who is portrayed as very cold hearted, “the cold within him froze his features”. He always kept attention to himself and never cared about anyone else. The whole town knew him as a bad man, even “the blindmen’s dogs knew him… and would tug their owners into corners away from him”.
Jacob Marley was his partner in life, and even though their relationship was for business only, he was Scrooge’s only friend. In regret from his own life, Marley and the Three Ghosts of Christmas change Scrooge’s attitude towards life.
Jacob Marley was much like Scrooge in his life. He also was cold hearted and only cared about money. In his death, he learnt that it was too late for him to change, but he wanted to give Scrooge the opportunity to become a better person. Marley came to Scrooge to warn him about how he regretted not helping people or being kind. Marley now wanted to help people in life, but he wore “the chain (he) forged in life”. Marley’s visit startled Scrooge, but he still brushed off the warning and thought that Marley was a dream.
Jacob Marley regrets not doing all the things he could have in life, but Scrooge is yet to realise why he needs to change. The first ghost that is sent by Marley is the ghost of Christmas past. The ghost takes Scrooge back in time to where Scrooge was born and raised. At the sight of the village, Scrooge softens and is excited for a moment before returning to his old personality. A change is shown at this point because Scrooge reflects on the good past life he had. Scrooge is shown a scene from when he was a boy, left alone at Christmas whilst everyone else was celebrating.
It shows how Scrooge is imagining friends because he is so lonely. After seeing himself Scrooge he regrets not paying attention to the people he’s seen celebrating Christmas. “There was a boy singing a Christmas carol at my door last night, I would have liked to have given him something, that’s all”. This shows that even though Scrooge hasn’t realized that he is changing, he is starting to become more aware of the things he’s done wrong, and of the community. Scrooge is then shown the time when he was an apprentice, under the employment of Mr. Fezziwig.
Fezziwig was a jolly old man, who always respected his workers and cared for them, unlike Scrooge. This scene gives Scrooge the lesson to be kinder to his apprentice Bob Cratchit. The ghost shows Scrooge the annual Christmas parties that Fezziwig held, where rooms were filled with laughter and joy, reminding Scrooge that he had a fun and joyous life in the past. “The happiness (he) gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune. ” The ghost of Christmas Past changes Scrooge by making him aware of his past life, and the kindness he once showed.
Scrooge is visited by a second spirit, the ghost of Christmas present. The spirit transports Scrooge around the city, showing him scenes of festivity and also deprivation that were happening as they watched. He shows Scrooge the Cratchit household and how happy they are despite being poor, for the second time Scrooge realises how he has abused his power as an employer. Tiny Tim is introduced, he is one of Bob Cratchit’s younger children. Tiny Tim walks with a crutch as he has an incurable illness. The spirit shares a vision of Tiny Tim’s crutch, carefully preserved by the fireplace.
Scrooge asks if Tim will die. The Ghost first states that “If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die”. Scrooge reflects back to his past unkind comments towards two charitable solicitors against him. Scrooge suggests “had better do it, and decrease the surplus population” (about the poor children of London), Scrooge is disgusted at his own words and is concerned for Tiny Tim and his family. Bob Cratchit and his family all gather round and make a toast to scrooge, even though they know he is disrespectful and “the ogre of the family”, they still thank Scrooge.
The guests of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, also toast to Scrooge despite his cruelty. The ghost of Christmas Present, changes Scrooge by making him feel obliged to help the poor of London, and the ghost makes him aware of what people think of him. The last and the most fearsome of the phantoms visit Scrooge, the ghost of Christmas yet to come. He takes Scrooge to the future to show Scrooge what happens after Scrooge’s death. People question what happened to the deceased Scrooge, but most of the people yawn and don’t have any interest in what happened. They are interested in his money and possessions.
He was “alone by himself. ” This shows that when Scrooge dies he will not be missed and people will not have a care or interest. Three wealthy men remark that his funeral will be cheap,” if anyone comes at all”. He is taken to his house where a poor family is stealing belongings, and an unmasked figure lies on the bed. The ghost starts unmasking the figure but Scrooge tells him to stop, as he fears the figure is him. The ghost takes him to the graveyard where his “neglected grave” lay. With a connection to death, Scrooge is taken to the Cratchit’s home where the atmosphere is sad and depressing.
The family is all upset over the passing of Tiny Tim. Scrooge wishes he was able to help Bob Cratchit more by raising his money to provide the right treatment for Tiny Tim. Scrooge vows to change and help people for the better. The three ghosts and Jacob Marley, change Scrooge for the better. Their visits made Scrooge aware of his wrong-doing. They showed him what others were like in good spirits, and what would happen in the future if he didn’t change. Scrooge realized how he could change and “he was better than his word”. The ghosts made Scrooge a better person.