The Three Spirits In A Christmas Carol Essay

The Characters Of The Three Ghosts In A Christmas Carol

How does Charles Dickens present the characters of the three ghosts in
A Christmas Carol.

In this essay, I will find out how Charles Dickens presents the
characters of the three ghosts in ‘A Christmas Carol’. This story is
about Scrooge. He was a selfish man who had a solely friend, called
Jacob Marley. After seven years of Marley’s death, on Christmas Eve,
Scrooge saw Marley’s ghost dragging chains of cashboxes that Marley
forged in life. Marley told Scrooge that three spirits would visit him
and change his fate. Dickens’ early life had influenced his view on
the importance of helping others. In Dickens’ early life, he worked in
a workhouse and his job is to paste labels on bottle which is a boring
and hellish job. He became a law clerk eventually but it was still
tough work. This can be a reason why he has strong sympathy towards
lower class people who work very hard and get little money. Hence, he
creates a character called Bob Cratchit and he is a clerk who works
for Scrooge. Cratchit has a big family with lots of children. He is
oppressed by Scrooge and he gets little salary. Clearly, Dickens is
trying to present Bob Cratchit as ordinary people at that time so that
he engages with them.

The three Ghosts of Christmas represent the past, present and future
of Scrooge’s life. The first ghost, Ghost of Christmas Past, Dickens
describes it as ‘like a child’ but it also describes it as ‘like an
old man’. It signifies the past when Scrooge was young but he is old
now. The ghost’s hair ‘was white as if with age’ reveals the gain of
life experience from the past and maturity. Dickens also pictures its
arms which ‘were very long and muscular’. The purpose of the ghost’s
strong arms is to hold plenty of memories together from young to old,
past to present. Moreover, the ghost’s crown has ‘a bright clear jet
of light’ and it can represent the strong memories of the past and
these memories can never fade away. Besides, the ghost is holding ‘a
branch of fresh holly’ but it also has its dress ‘trimmed with summer
flowers’. The combination of these contrasting season’s flowers, could
reveal time, year by year and memories of all the past. Apart from its
appearance, what it has done is remarkably successful. Scrooge is
softened and he regrets what he has done in the past. Scrooge realises
that he has to change as he sees his selfishness, cruelness and
coldness towards other people.

The second ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Present is a cheerful ghost.
Dickens presents it in...

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Summary

The church clock strikes one, startling Scrooge, who awakes in mid-snore. Glad to be awake, he hopes to confront the second spirit just as it arrives. The echoes of the church bell fade, however, and no ghost appears. Somewhat disappointed, Scrooge waits for 15 minutes after which a bright light begins to stream down upon him. Curious and a bit befuddled, Scrooge pads into the other room where he finds the second spirit waiting for him.

The figure, a majestic giant clad in green robes, sits atop a throne made of a gourmet feast. In a booming voice, the spirit announces himself as the Ghost of Christmas Present. He tells Scrooge that he has more than 1800 brothers and his lifespan is a mere single day. The spirit orders Scrooge to touch his robe. Upon doing so, the feast and the room vanish instantly and Scrooge finds himself alongside the spirit in the midst of the bustling city on Christmas morning. Blissful passersby take pleasure in the wondrous sights and smells abounding through the shop doors. People merrily shovel snow, tote bags of presents, and greet one another with a cheery "Merry Christmas!"

The spirit then takes Scrooge to the meager home of Bob Cratchit, where Mrs. Cratchit and her children prepare a Christmas goose and savor the few Christmas treats they can afford. The oldest daughter, Martha, returns from her job at a milliner's. The oldest son, Peter, wears a stiff-collared shirt, a hand-me-down from his father. Bob comes in carrying the crippled young tyke, Tiny Tim, on his shoulders. The family is more than content despite its skimpy Christmas feast. Scrooge begs to know whether Tiny Tim will survive. The spirit replies that given the current conditions in the Cratchit house, there will inevitably be an empty chair at next year's Christmas dinner.

The spirit takes Scrooge to a number of other Christmas gatherings, including the festivities of an isolated community of miners and a party aboard a ship. He also takes Scrooge to Fred's Christmas party, where Scrooge looses himself in the numerous party games and has a wildly entertaining time, though none of the party guests can actually see him. As the night unfolds, the ghost grows older. At last, Scrooge and the ghost come to a vast and desolate expanse. Here, the ghost shows Scrooge a pair of starving children who travel with him beneath his robes--their names are Ignorance and Want. Scrooge inquires if nothing can be done to help them. Mockingly, the ghost quotes Scrooge's earlier retort, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses ?"

The spirit disappears as the clock strikes midnight and Scrooge eyes a hooded phantom coming toward him.

Commentary

The Ghost of Christmas Present serves as the central symbol of the Christmas ideal--generosity, goodwill, and celebration. Appearing on a throne made of food, the spirit evokes thoughts of prosperity, satiety, and merriment. Similarly, the moral outlook of A Christmas Carol has little to do with the solemnity of a religious occasion. Christmas, in Dickens' mind, should not bring about self-denial, renunciation, or emotional withdrawal. Christmas is a time of sharing one's riches--emotional, spiritual, monetary, etc.--with the community of man. A feast is a wonderful thing but only if one has loved ones with whom to share it. In this sense, the Ghost of Christmas Present also represents empathy enabl ing Scrooge to not only see the Cratchits but to feel the sorrow and hardships of their daily toil. In essence, the celebratory aspects of Christmas that Dickens promotes are grounded in this empathetic generosity. Christmas should stimulate within people a concern for the wants and needs of ot hers and a euphoric joy in fulfilling these desires.

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