Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol

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  • 0:03 Who Is Mrs. Cratchit?
  • 0:38 Mrs. Cratchit's Optimism
  • 1:12 The Cratchit's…
  • 2:00 Mrs. Cratchit's…
  • 2:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lauren Boivin

Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.

This lesson takes a look at Mrs. Cratchit in ''A Christmas Carol'' by Charles Dickens. Mrs. Cratchit's character shows an interesting blend of resourceful persistence and feisty defiance.

Who Is Mrs. Cratchit?

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, we first meet Mrs. Cratchit in the part of the story where Scrooge is traveling with the Ghost of Christmas Present. We read that she is 'dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown,' which means she's wearing a dress that has been made over twice, indicating she isn't able to buy new clothes. However, we read on to see that, despite this problem, she is 'brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence.' She doesn't have money for a new dress, but she is making the best of things by using ribbons instead because they are cheap.

Mrs. Cratchit's Optimism

We begin to understand that Mrs. Cratchit is used to having scanty means when she shows 'great delight' at the fact that there is 'one small atom of bone' remaining of their Christmas goose at the end of their feast. Mrs. Cratchit rejoices that 'they hadn't et it all at last! Yet everyone had had enough.' This shows us that not only can the Cratchits not afford new clothes, but a full meal where everyone has enough to eat is also a rare thing. Mrs. Cratchit shows striking optimism when she is able to be delighted at the simple achievement of a family with full stomachs.

The Cratchit's Christmas Pudding

The phrase about proof being in pudding means that the evidence of a thing is borne out in actions and whatever fruit they produce. In the way the Cratchit family handles their Christmas pudding, we see proof of the fact that Mrs. Cratchit has raised them well. Mrs. Cratchit brings the pudding out with much pomp and circumstance and all the family admire it. As we read on, we discover this pudding, like all other aspects of their Christmas celebration, is touched by their poverty - but we also see clear evidence that Mrs. Cratchit's knack for gratitude and optimism has been heartily ingrained in the children for 'nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.'

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