Ignorance & Want in A Christmas Carol

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  • 0:04 A Christmas Carol
  • 1:09 Ghost of Christmas Present
  • 1:48 Ignorance & Want
  • 3:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

'A Christmas Carol', Charles Dickens' popular story of the evolution of Ebenezer Scrooge from a miser to a generous old man, exposes the vice and virtue in human lives. In this lesson, we'll look at the themes of ignorance and want that appear in the story.

A Christmas Carol

In the famous story A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, we encounter Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man more focused on earning money than on the people around him. He disregards his employee Bob Cratchit and even his own nephew. No one is as important as the gold he is making and saving by allowing others to suffer. However, one night Scrooge has an encounter with the ghost of Jacob Marley, his old work partner and friend.

Marley tries to reach Scrooge by explaining to him what he will experience when he dies. He shows him his chains and describes his suffering. Scrooge dismisses Marley but not before his former partner tells him of a night to come, where three spirits will advise him to change his ways. Ebenezer Scrooge experiences each spirit in turn: first, the Ghost of Christmas Past; then the Ghost of Christmas Present; and lastly, the Ghost of Christmas Future. Their revelations inspire Scrooge to change his ways and live more for today and the well-being of others.

Ghost of Christmas Present

Although the Ghost of Christmas Past makes Ebenezer Scrooge sad for the love he lost when he was younger, it does not immediately eliminate his desire to live his life as greedily as he chooses. When the Ghost of Christmas Present visits, Scrooge is still trying to make excuses for his life choices. But the Ghost of Christmas Present will not accept his pathetic murmurings. Instead, he shows Scrooge the London he is living in and how his neglect affects the people around him. This is the point where Scrooge starts to realize what he has done and stops focusing on himself. Is he ready to see what's beneath the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present?

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