Scrooge’s Journey of Growth and Redemption in a Christmas Carol
In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens represents Scrooge as an unsympathetic man who is offered the opportunity to redeem himself. Through use of language, the reader is positioned to view him adversely, but during the journey of morality lessons shown by three spirits, Scrooge recovers his sense of joy by undergoing a significant transformation. Scrooge seeks redemption through the many lessons taught by the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
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In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Dickens represents Scrooge as a ‘squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner’ who is against Christmas and happiness and values money, yet given a chance to redeem his fate. Marley’s Ghost has come to warn Scrooge to change his avarice ways or he, too, will be condemned to wander the Earth in the pain he has caused and the happiness he cannot share, weighed down by ‘the chain [he] forged in life’ which he has made ‘link by link, and yard by yard’.
Dickens uses the metaphor to contribute to the burden Marley carries because of the selfish ways he has acted in his life on Earth. Scrooge is shaken by what has happened to his sole friend, who offers no console and furthermore exemplifies his fate by showing him the phantoms who, like Marley, wore chains and were linked together, unable to be free as ‘misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good…and had lost the power for ever’ as for the dead, it is too late for anything, which is the message given to Scrooge.
The Spirit of Christmas Past visits to reminisce Scrooge’s unhappy childhood as a ‘solitary child, neglected by his friends’. Scrooge pities himself, and wishes that he had given something to the boy ‘singing a Christmas Carol at [his] door last night’, which becomes his first step towards his transformation. When Scrooge is shown his fiance upset that ‘another idol has replaced [her]’…a golden one’, he recollects how greedy he was and his true values is reflected. Ultimately, he realizes his mistakes and begins to make amends for his past attitudes through the spirit unfolding his miserable upbringing.
The allegory, ‘A Christmas Carol’, through Dickens’ construction of caricature and the second spirit of Christmas, allows the reader to be positioned to see Scrooge begin to reevaluate Christmas time. He starts to comprehend his harsh behaviours and asks the spirit to ‘conduct [him] where you will. I went forth last night on compulsion, and I learnt a lesson…let me profit by it. ‘ The spirit, through Dickens, transports Scrooge to view an affectionate scene during Christmas with the Cratchits, where Tiny Tim’s feeble self is seated next to his father.
Scrooge feels miserable for the family even though they are ‘happy [and] grateful’ because it was Christmas time and are always ‘pleased with one another and contented with the time’. Dickens, through the Spirit of Christmas Present, has also used caricatures to juxtapose with Scrooge’s characterization by revealing that even though on the ‘dismal reef of sunken rocks’ and in isolation, the lonely men at the lighthouse still ‘wished each other Merry Christmas…and struck up a sturdy song’, which shows Scrooge that no matter where people are, Christmas is a time for celebration.
The third spirit, of Christmas Yet to Come, allows the reader to be positioned to see the change in Scrooge hitherto and the last element in his vital transformation. The spirit takes him to a scene where joy is exposed at a death, unknowing it is his own and that ‘it was a happier house for this man’s death’. Scrooge is appalled with the lack of tenderness present and demands justice. He is shown Bob grieving Tiny Tim’s death on Christmas Day, however ‘just a little down’ as the atmosphere was full of Christmas cheeriness.
Scrooge struggles to learn a lesson and insists the ghost to tell him who the dead man was and becomes horrified when he realizes it is himself and asks for redemption as he ‘will not be the man [he] must have been for this intercourse’, thus realizing that he still has a chance to change his fate. ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens allow readers to be positioned to identify what he values in society and his beliefs of the consequences in life and in Christianity as shown through Scrooge’s transformation.
Scrooge was a coldhearted and frosty man who has been given a second chance in life to alter his view towards Christmas, and most importantly, the happiness in the world by becoming charitable, and positive while maintaining self respect and value. Through the teachings from the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, Dickens demonstrates a defiant and isolated character who transforms into a changed man imbued with Christmas spirit.