Notes on Characters from A Christmas Carol

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A Christmas Carol Major Characters

Ebenezer Scrooge: Scrooge is a hard, cold miser who spends his days counting his profits and wishing the world would leave him alone. He doesn't believe in charity, and he is certain that those who do are just lazy bums looking for a handout. Scrooge's entire life is his business and he shuts out his nephew who is the only relative he has. But Scrooge is visited by his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him that if he continues to live his life in such an unchristian way, he will spend all eternity trying to make up for it. Three ghosts, who show him that the errors of his ways, visit Scrooge. Because of what he sees and learns, Scrooge opens his heart to the people around him and learns charity and love and saves himself from the doom of which Marley warned him.

Bob Cratchit: Cratchit is an accountant who works for Scrooge, and he is a kind and loving family man. Scrooge generally mistreats Cratchit, but the accountant bears his employer no ill will because he believes that Scrooge's life is lonely. The greatest sorrow in Cratchit's life is that his young son, Tiny Tim, is very ill. Because Bob's salary is so meager, the family cannot afford treatment for Tim. When Scrooge sees their situation during one of the ghostly visitations, he realizes that he must be more generous to his employee and help save Tiny Tim.

Jacob Marley: Marley was once Scrooge's business partner, but he died seven years ago and now he returns as a ghost to warn Scrooge of the horrors that await him unless he changes his ways. Marley appears to Scrooge on Christmas Eve to tell him of the cumbersome burden that he bears in death because he neglected his duty toward others in life. Marley must walk around and watch people and regret that he did not help anyone or touch anyone during his lifetime. His burden is incessant remorse for his own greed during life. He warns Scrooge that unless he becomes a more charitable person, he will also bear that weight. Marley tells Scrooge of the three ghosts who will visit him. They are Scrooge's only chance for salvation. After the warning, Marley flies out the window and joins the other ghosts who drag their chains of duty.

Ghost of Christmas Past: The Ghost of Christmas Past is the epitome of the contradictions of youth and age as well as winter and spring. The ghost has a beam of light jetting from his head and Scrooge extinguishes the light when he feels that he is unable to bear any of the other memories that the ghost is showing him. By showing Scrooge his past, the ghost has makes him realize that he has changed drastically from who he was when he was young and that his interests have turned from people to money.

Ghost of Christmas Present: The Ghost of Christmas Present is a friendly, generous giant who shows Scrooge the homes of Bob Cratchit as well as Scrooge's nephew, Fred. In both homes, good will is extended toward Scrooge although he has never shown the same good will to either his clerk, or his nephew. As the time passes the ghost, who was young when he first appeared to Scrooge, seems to age in the way that the present changes to the past with the passing of time. Then, just as he is approaching his last moments, the ghost shows Scrooge that want and ignorance are two products of society that will destroy it if not combated against by those who can prevent both social ills.

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a dark phantom, and the only part of this ghost that Scrooge sees, beyond his black robe, is a hand with which he points at the things Scrooge is to take notice of. This ghost shows Scrooge how he will die, and it is a sad scene. Scrooge begs the ghost to tell him that this fate can be changed if he changes his ways, but the ghost doesn't answer him. Scrooge is left only with the knowledge that he must change and become a more charitable person if he is to alter the fate that the ghost revealed to him.

Tiny Tim Cratchit: Tiny Tim is Bob Cratchit's youngest son. He is a lame boy with a cheerful nature despite his ailments. At the Christmas church service, Tim hopes that people will look at his ailment and be reminded of how Christ healed the lame and blind. Tiny Tim's guileless nature impresses Scrooge, and when he learns from the Ghost of Christmas Present that Tiny Tim will die soon, Scrooge is saddened. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come also shows the Cratchit house without Tiny Tim, and the vision is a sad one. Scrooge is touched by the gentleness of the little boy and wishes to prevent this fate from occurring.

Minor Characters

Scrooge's Nephew: Fred, Scrooge's nephew (his deceased sister's son), is a pauper, but a cheerful man nonetheless. He comes to the counting house to wish Scrooge a merry Christmas and invite his uncle to dine with himself and his wife on Christmas Day. Scrooge, however, refuses to associate with his nephew. Fred actually pities his miserly uncle because although he has all that money, he is still alone and unhappy. Fred insists that he will visit Scrooge at Christmas every year no matter whether or not Scrooge ever agrees to dine with Fred and his wife. After his visitation by the three ghosts of Christmas, Scrooge attends the Christmas dinner at Fred's home and enjoys himself immensely.

Donations Collectors: Two men collecting donations for charity come to Scrooge expecting that such a wealthy businessman will contribute to their cause, but Scrooge refuses. He insists that there are government-established forms of aid, and if more is needed to help the poor, it's the government's responsibility. Later when Scrooge is converted, he donates a large sum of money to one of the men. The collector is greatly surprised by Scrooge's generosity after facing such hostility when they approached him the first time.

Fannie Scrooge: Ebenezer's younger sister whom he loved dearly but who died young. She was the mother of Ebenezer's nephew, his only living relative.

Fezziwig: Fezziwig was Scrooge's kind and generous employer. He revisits the memory of his employment with Fezziwig when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him Fezziwig's great Christmas party. The memory of this kind employer makes Scrooge feel a twinge of regret at how poorly he treats Bob Cratchit, his own employee.

Belle: Belle is the young woman who once loved and was loved by Scrooge. Unfortunately, his love for her was replaced by his love for money, and she did not want to be second in favor to gold. She left him and went her own way after that and married. Scrooge remained alone. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds him of why Belle left him and shows him where his life began going the wrong direction.

The Thieves: These are poor people who rob from Scrooge when he dies because he had no one in his life to whom he could leave his wealth. They took many of his valuable possessions to sell them, and they have no remorse for their thievery because he was such a cruel, cold man. Scrooge sees them without knowing that he is the man from whom they steal, and he is disgusted by their greed. But he also pities the man they have robbed because he sounds like a miserable wretch despite his wealth.

The Debtors: A young couple who is indebted to Scrooge for some amount of money that they cannot presently repay, rejoices in his death, because now they may find some leniency in the creditor who takes over Scrooge's business. Although the couple knows that it is wrong to rejoice in someone's death, they cannot help but feel relieved that they no longer owe Scrooge money.

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