Written in 1843, the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
This novella written in five chapters follows Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser, hates Christmas and refuses an invitation to Christmas dinner from his nephew Fred. He turns away two men who seek a donation from him in order to provide food and heating for the poor, and only grudgingly allows his overworked, underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit, Christmas Day off with pay to conform to the social custom. That night Scrooge is visited by his former business partner, Jacob Marley’s ghost, who wanders the Earth, entwined by heavy chains and money boxes, forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Marley tells Scrooge that he has one chance to avoid the same fate: he will be visited by three spirits and he must listen to them or be cursed to carry chains of his own.
The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes of Scrooge’s boyhood and youth, reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. The boyhood scenes portray Scrooge’s lonely childhood, his relationship with his beloved sister Fan, and a Christmas party hosted by his first employer, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated Scrooge like a son. They also portray Scrooge’s neglected fianc?e Belle, who ends their relationship after she realises that Scrooge will never love her as much as he loves money.
His second visitor, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to a joy-filled market of people buying the makings of Christmas dinner and celebrations of Christmas in a miner’s cottage and in a lighthouse. Scrooge and the ghost also visit Fred’s Christmas party. A major part of this stave is taken up with Bob Cratchit’s family feast and introduces his youngest son, Tiny Tim, a happy boy with a chronic illness. The spirit informs Scrooge that Tiny Tim will die soon unless the course of events changes.
The third and final visitor, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, shows Scrooge a Christmas Day in the future. The ghost shows him scenes involving the death of a disliked man. The man’s funeral will only be attended by local businessmen if lunch is provided. His charwoman, his laundress, and the local undertaker steal some of his possessions and sell them to a fence. After Scrooge asks to see some tenderness connected with any death, the ghost shows him Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the passing of Tiny Tim. The ghost then shows Scrooge the man’s neglected grave, for the dramatic conclusion to this ghostly visitation.
In the final chapter, Ebenezer Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning a changed man. He spends the day with Fred’s family and anonymously sends a large turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner. The following day he begins his journey on his new life path as a generous and open hearted man.
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