Representation of a Character Change in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol

  • Words 917
  • Pages 2
Download PDF

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the richest amongst the people in London. However, he does not use his wealth to satisfy his need nor does he use it to benefit the poor mankind. Scrooge is a miserable, bitter old miser. Scrooge hates valuable things like happiness, generosity, and Christmas until a trio of ghosts show him the error of his ways. In A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens uses Belle’s breakup with Scrooge, the Cratchits’ Christmas celebration, and Scrooge seeing his own death to prove that it is never too late to change for the better.

First of all, Scrooge begins to change when he sees Belle once again breaking up with him, reminding him of how he is still consumed with greed. Belle, Scrooge’s ex-fiancée, breaks up with him at the end of Stave One because he has changed too much in his pursuit of wealth. Belle says to Scrooge, “Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve”. “What idol has displaced you?” he rejoined. “A golden one” (Dickens 27). This quote means that the love of gold or money has taken over Scrooge’s love for Belle. When Scrooge sees Belle through the Ghost of Christmas Past, it shows him exactly what his greed has cost: the love of his life and a real chance of happiness. Scrooge realizes that has made a grave mistake for choosing money over love.

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

Another part of the story that brings a change in Scrooge is when he sees the Cratchits’ Christmas celebration. The Cratchits all enjoy their goose, and their gravy, apple-sauce and potatoes. The goose is cooked at the bakers because they have no way to cook it. They are very poor. The narrator states, “Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing” (Dickens 39). This quote signifies that the Cratchits would never complain that there isn’t enough to eat or the dinner is not sufficient. When Scrooge sees the celebration the Cratchits have through the Ghost of Christmas Present, it tells him that family is more important than money, and you should savor what you do have. Another great example of Scrooge’s change is when Scrooge sees Fred’s Christmas party. Fred’s wife and the party guests think Scrooge is a mean, lonely man with lots of money and no friends. Fred pitties him because he knows his money does not make him happy. Fred says to his guests, “His wealth is of no good use to him. He don’t do any good with it. He don’t make himself comfortable with it. He doesn’t have the satisfaction of thinking-ha ha ha!-that he is ever going to benefit Us with it” (Dickens 45). This quote shows that Scrooge’s wealth does no good to him in any way, whether it’s for himself or for others. When Scrooge sees Fred, Fred’s wife, and the party guests peaking of him and his miserly ways, Scrooge desires a change from himself because of others’ perspective on him. Scrooge learns that money has no higher importance than family and Christmas spirit.

The final eye-opener that causes the biggest change in Scrooge is when he sees his own gravestone in the graveyard. At the very end of Stave Four, Scrooge cries out, knowing that he is the dead man on the bed, alone and unloved. He gets down on his knees before the spirit and begs him to reassure him that an altered life will produce an altered fate. He vows to honor Christmas and learn all his lessons. Scrooge says to the spirit, ‘I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!’ (Dickens 62) This quote means that Scrooge resolves to be a changed man after witnessing what the three spirits have shown him that evening. Finally, Scrooge is convinced to discard his ignorance and change his perspective towards life. He realizes that this story he is seeing is not symbolic; it is his life, and he must now struggle with the certain understanding that his greed has led him inescapably to the horrible loneliness that he witnesses in this vision of the future, to a death uncared by anyone. Facing this vision, with this understanding, Scrooge begins to suddenly and dramatically repent.

By the end of the novel, we can see that Scrooge has changed a great deal. He has changed from a selfish thoughtless man to a charitable, caring man with a kind heart. His behavior changes due to Belle’s breakup with him, the Cratchits’ Christmas celebration, and seeing his own death. He learns the ability to understand others’ feelings. Empathy allows Scrooge to feel pity for and to understand those who are less fortunate than him, people like Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit. His antisocial misery self is replaced with warmth, generosity, and kindness, proving it is never too late to change for the better.


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.