Notes on A Christmas Carol Themes

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A Christmas Carol Topic Tracking: Regret

Stave 1

Regret 1: Marley regrets the way he lived his life because he missed out on so many opportunities for happiness. He neglected the people around him and focused only on his own wealth, and for that he is doomed to spend eternity walking in chains and watching joy without being a part of it.

Stave 2

Regret 2: When Scrooge sees himself as a small and miserable boy alone at Christmas, he regrets his harshness with the little boy who sang a Christmas carol at the counting house door on Christmas Eve. Remembering his own unhappiness and destitution as a child makes him wish he had given the caroler something to help him out.

Regret 3: When the Ghost of Christmas Past reminds Scrooge of his beloved sister, Fannie, he also mentions that Fannie is survived by her only son, Scrooge's nephew. Scrooge is made uneasy by this because he has no relationship with Fannie's son. He was harsh with the young man that afternoon, although the nephew only wanted to invite Scrooge to Christmas dinner and share the joy of the season.

Regret 4: The memory of Fezziwig's kindness and good spirit makes Scrooge wish that he could speak with Bob Cratchit. Scrooge remembers how much easier his employer's kindness made his work seem. It wasn't that Fezziwig paid so well, but rather that he made his employees happy. Scrooge feels a pang of regret that he hasn't been that kind of employer.

Regret 5: Scrooge watches the scene in which Belle leaves him and is overcome with sadness. He has been alone since then, while she moved on and married and raised a family after they parted ways. Belle left him because she knew that money had grown more important to him than his love for her, and Scrooge sees in this the point where his life got off track.

Stave 3

Regret 6: When Scrooge learns that Tiny Tim will die if the future is unaltered, Scrooge is saddened. But when the Ghost of Christmas Present reminds him that when the collectors came to ask for a donation for the poor, Scrooge told them that those who were dying should go ahead and do it to decrease the population. Looking at Tiny Tim makes him realize that he was wrong to make such a statement and that those he might well consider an unnecessary surplus, could very well be those like Tim.

Regret 7: The Ghost of Christmas Present once again uses Scrooge's own words to make him regret his previous flippancy about the poor. The ghost warns Scrooge that Want and Ignorance must be fought against or else the world is doomed and it is part of Scrooge's duty to help fight against these social ills. Seeing these hideous monsters personified makes Scrooge realize how important it is to rid society of these self-created problems.

Stave 4

Regret 8: Scrooge watches the Cratchit family after Tiny Tim has died and regrets that the sweet child's life has ended.

Regret 9: When Scrooge sees his end, he regrets the way of life that he has chosen. He regrets the greed that has driven him to be cruel and hard to people. He regrets that he has not been a more charitable person these past years and promises that he will change his ways so that he will not end the way the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed him.

Stave 5

Regret 10: Scrooge regrets his rude behavior of the previous day when the donation collectors came to his office. He was horrible and cold, and when he sees one of the collectors on the following day, he apologizes and makes a large donation to the cause.

Regret 11: Scrooge regrets the way that he has treated his nephew, and so when he goes to Fred's home on Christmas Day, he is happy when his nephew welcomes him with open arms.

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