What is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens about?


What is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens about?

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, published in on December 19, 1843. Dickens had been writing Christmas-themed materials since 1835, and wrote more Christmas stories after 1843, but A Christmas Carol is his only Christmas work that remained popular into the twenty-first century. It was published and popularized in England at the culmination of the Industrial Revolution.

Answer and Explanation:

A Christmas Carol is about the personal and social ills that arise from the hoarding of resources by the wealthy, told through the perspective of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser who realizes that he should support poor members of his community. The story takes place almost entirely on a Christmas Eve. It begins with Ebenezer Scrooge turning away family who invite him to dinner and men seeking donations for the poor. He pays his employee Bob Cratchit very little money, but overworks him.

Over the course of the night, the ghost of Bob Marley, Scrooge's former business associate, visits Scrooge to tell him that a life of hoarding wealth and rejecting social and familial relationships culminates in misery. Three ghosts then take Scrooge on a series of visions. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds Scrooge that he once had loving relationships, which he gave up for the pursuit of money. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge that his family is enjoying a cozy dinner without him, and that Cratchit's child Tiny Tim is dying, thanks to the phantoms of Ignorance and Want. (These phantoms symbolize the wider social problem of poverty in industrialized England.) The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge what will happen if he does not change his ways: people celebrate Scrooge's death and Tiny Tim dies, leaving his family devastated.

The story features a happy ending, with Scrooge rejoining his family and supporting the Cratchits and Tiny Tim. Presumably, forsaking the pursuit of wealth in favor of the common good and familial love, will change the terrible future that Marley showed to Scrooge.

Learn more about this topic:

A Christmas Carol: History & Facts

from A Christmas Carol Study Guide

Chapter 2 / Lesson 2

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