Notes on A Christmas Carol Themes

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A Christmas Carol Topic Tracking: Greed

Stave 1

Greed 1: Scrooge, although he is wealthy, is such a miser that he won't even allow his clerk to have enough coal to keep him warm. He insists on saving money by burning only enough coal to keep a small flame glowing whether the heat that it puts out is sufficient to keep the clerk warm. Scrooge's greed is his downfall because he is so consumed with his money that he neglects the people around him, and when all is said and done, the people are what matter most.

Greed 2: Marley's greed caused him to miss out on the most important part of living -- people. Because he was so focused on business and so money-driven (very much the way Scrooge is), Marley is forced to spend eternity wandering around wanting to help people and being unable to do so. He is being punished in death for his greed in life.

Stave 2

Greed 3: Scrooge's greed drives away Belle, the young woman he loves. She cannot stay with him because he has made profit his main priority and she won't be second priority in his life. Scrooge really is so interested in his own profit that he doesn't make her stay with him because he realizes that she is right about his priorities. Because money is all that matters to him, money is all he is left with. Belle marries and has a family while Scrooge grows old, and rich, alone.

Stave 3

Greed 4: Scrooge's greed keeps Bob Cratchit and his family poor. Scrooge can afford to pay Bob well, but instead he offers a meager salary that keeps Bob and his family barely fed and clothed. Despite the obvious injustice, Bob Cratchit drinks a Christmas toast to his employer's health.

Greed 5: Scrooge's nephew, his only living relative, is a poor man, and although Scrooge could help his nephew out financially, he doesn't because he can't bear to part with his wealth. Despite this, Fred wishes his uncle no ill will. In fact, he pities the old miser because he is alone and unloved.

Greed 6: Scrooge's greed prevented him from donating to the poor when the donation collectors came to his office, but the Ghost of Christmas Present shows him that Want and Ignorance are problems that must be fought against by every part of society so that the society doesn't deteriorate.

Stave 4

Greed 7: The greed of the people who robbed a dead man astounds and unnerves Scrooge because the thieves feel no remorse for what they have done. They are profiting from a man's death, and they don't feel bad about it because they had no feeling of good will or common decency toward the man at all. They act as if he deserved to be robbed because he was such a bad person, and all the while Scrooge watches the scene, he has no idea that he is the dead man who was robbed.

Greed 8: The man who died was obviously a threatening creditor, and that is why the young couple was worried about his reaction when they couldn't make their payment. The only relief they got from him was when he died and could intimidate them no more. The fact that this man was a creditor suggests that he had plenty of money, but judging by the young couple's reaction to his death, he had no mercy.

Greed 9: Scrooge repents of the wicked selfishness of his way of life when he sees the way he will end, alone and unloved by anyone. He repents of his greed and cruelty and promises to have a charitable heart from now on.

Stave 5

Greed 10: Scrooge's greed was exhibited in the beginning of the story by his stinginess with coal in his office. He refused to burn large fires because it required too much fuel, so Cratchit had to try to warm himself with the candle on his desk. Now Scrooge insists on a great fire and purchasing more coal so that they can keep the office cozy. He has broken out of his greed and turned his interest back toward humanity rather than money.

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