Notes on A Christmas Carol Themes

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A Christmas Carol Topic Tracking: Charity

Stave 1

Charity 1: When the donation collectors approach Scrooge expecting a donation to help the poor at Christmas, he insists that he's done his duty to the poor by supporting the government establishments that provide aid. He refuses to assist any further because he's done the necessary minimum, and that's all he must do. Scrooge is too greedy to be charitable, and Marley was the same way. Scrooge sees nothing wrong with refusing to donate to charity because he believes that people in need of charity are all idle, and if they would work, they would not be in need.

Charity 2: Marley warns Scrooge that he is living the wrong way. He pays too much attention to his money and not enough attention to the people around him. Scrooge's interest should be in fellow human beings -- in helping them and loving them -- not in counting his own wealth. Marley didn't learn until he became a ghost that charity and kindness were the important aspects of living, but by then it was too late.

Charity 3: Scrooge looks out the window and sees the other ghosts roaming the night and lamenting their inability to help the humans they see. These are the ghosts of people who did not help others in their lifetime, and now, when they want to help people, they are unable to do so.

Stave 2

Charity 4: Scrooge remembers the young boy who sang a Christmas carol at his door earlier in the day. After reflecting on his own years as a miserable, lonely youth with the help of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge regrets not being more charitable to the young caroler.

Charity 5: Scrooge remembers the charity and kindness with which Fezziwig approached his neighbors and employees. That generosity was the most cherished aspect of Fezziwig's personality and it made him a hero with his employees and friends. Scrooge admired that about his former employer, but didn't show it with Bob Cratchit, his own clerk.

Stave 3

Charity 6: Scrooge's nephew, Fred, believes that if he goes to see Scrooge every year at Christmas to spread a little good cheer and wish him a merry Christmas, perhaps it will inspire Scrooge to be more giving. If nothing else, he hopes that it might inspire his uncle to give Bob Cratchit some sort of Christmas bonus.

Stave 4

Charity 7: Fred offers to assist Bob Cratchit and his family in any way that he can when he learns of Tiny Tim's death. Despite the stinginess of his uncle, Fred is generous and giving, and although he is a poor man himself, he will do what he can to lend aid where it is needed.

Charity 8: Scrooge promises the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that he has learned the importance of the spirit of Christmas, the charity and kindness of the season, and that he will make them a part of his life every day if only his horrible fate can be reversed.

Stave 5

Charity 9: Scrooge buys the largest turkey he can find and sends it to the Cratchit home without revealing who donated the gift. He wants the Cratchits to enjoy the day and he does what he can to help them out. He also pays a young boy to tell the poulterer to bring the turkey, as well as paying for a cab to take the poulterer to the Cratchit home to deliver the bird. Scrooge had never before exhibited such charity.

Charity 10: Scrooge sees one of the donations collectors who came to his office the previous day, and he promises to donate a great sum of money to the noble cause. The collector is astonished by the display because Scrooge was so callous the day before.

Charity 11: Scrooge pretends that he is angry with Cratchit for being late, and then he presents him with a raise. This generosity is so unlike Scrooge that Cratchit thinks perhaps he has gone mad. But Scrooge insists on helping Bob's family, and so Tiny Tim is saved, and Scrooge becomes like a second father to the young boy. Scrooge's charity helps the Cratchit family greatly.

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