The tale begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge is established within the first stave (chapter) as a greedy and stingy stɪnʤɪ businessman who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity 'ʧærɪtɪ , or benevolence bɪ'nevələn(t)s.
The tale begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge is established within the first stave (chapter) as a greedy and stingy stɪnʤɪ businessman who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity 'ʧærɪtɪ , or benevolence bɪ'nevələn(t)s. After being warned by Marley's ghost to change his ways, Scrooge is visited by three additional ghosts – each in its turn – who accompany him to various scenes with the hope of achieving ə'ʧiv his transformation.
The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to the scenes of his boyhood and youth which stir stɜ the old miser's gentle and tender side by reminding him of a time when he was more innocent ɪnəs(ə)nt. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to several radically differing scenes (a joy-filled market of people buying the makings of Christmas dinner, the family feast of Scrooge's near-impoverished clerk Bob Cratchit, a miner's cottage, and a lighthouse among other sites) in order to evince ɪ'vɪn(t)s from the miser maɪzə a sense of responsibility for his fellow man. The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, harrows Scrooge with dire daɪə visions of the future if he does not learn and act upon what he has witnessed. Scrooge's own neglected and untended grave is revealed, prompting the miser to aver that he will change his ways in hopes of changing these "shadows of what may be."
In the fifth and final stave, Scrooge awakens Christmas morning with joy and love in his heart, then spends the day with his nephew's family after anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Crachit home for Christmas dinner. Scrooge has become a different man overnight, and now treats his fellow men with kindness, generosity, and compassion, gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas. The story closes with the narrator confirming the validity, completeness, and permanence of Scrooge's transformation.
Ebenezer Scrooge At the beginning of the novel, Scrooge is a cold-hearted, tight fisted and greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things which engender happiness. Dickens describes him thus: "The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and he spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice ..." His last name has come into the English language as a byword for miserliness and misanthropy, traits displayed by Scrooge in the exaggerated manner for which Dickens is well-known. The tale of his redemption by the three Ghosts of Christmas (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday. Scrooge's catchphrase, "Bah, humbug!" is often used to express disgust with many of the modern Christmas traditions.
The Ghost of Christmas past was the first of the three spirits (after the visitation by Jacob Marley) that haunted the miser Ebenezer Scrooge in order to prompt him to repent. He showed him scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, in order to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways, as well as to show the reader how Scrooge came to be the person he was and his particular dislike for Christmas – most of the events which negatively affected Scrooge occurred around the Christmas holiday season.
The Ghost of Christmas Present was the second of the three spirits (after the visitation by Jacob Marley) that haunted the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent. According to Dickens' novel, the Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Scrooge as "a jolly giant" with dark brown curls. He wears a fur-lined green robe and on his head a holly wreath set with shining icicles. He carries a large torch, made to resemble a cornucopia, and appears accompanied by a great feast. He states that he has had "more than eighteen hundred" brothers (in fact eighteen hundred and forty two) and later reveals the ability to change his size to fit into any space. He also has a scabbard with no sword in it, a representation of peace on Earth.
Ghost of Christmas Future . It is the ghost that haunts the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to adopt a more caring attitude in life and avoid the horrid afterlife of Marley. Scrooge finds the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come the most fearsome of the spirits; he appears to Scrooge as a figure entirely muffled in a black hooded robe, except for a single gaunt hand with which he points. Although the character never speaks in the story, Scrooge understands him, usually rough assumptions from his previous experiences and rhetorical questions. The Ghost's general appearance suggests that he may be associated with the Grim Reaper. The Ghost's muteness and undefined features (being always covered by his robe) may also have been intended to represent the uncertainty of the future. He is notable that even in satires and parodies of the tale, this spirit nonetheless retains his original look.
Dickens loved the style of 18th century Gothic romance, although it had already become a target for parody. One "character" vividly drawn throughout his novels is London itself. From the coaching inns on the outskirts of the city to the lower reaches of the Thames, all aspects of the capital are described over the course of his body of work.
His writing style is florid and poetic, with a strong comic touch. His satires of British aristocratic snobbery—he calls one character the "Noble Refrigerator"—are often popular. Comparing orphans to stocks and shares, people to tug boats, or dinner-party guests to furniture are just some of Dickens's acclaimed flights of fancy. Many of his characters' names provide the reader with a hint as to the roles played in advancing the storyline, such as Mr. Murdstone in the novel David Copperfield, which is clearly a combination of "murder" and stony coldness. His literary style is also a mixture of fantasy and realism.
7 February 1812–9 June 1870
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