The book A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge who is the main character in the novel. In the book, Ebenezer who is an elderly miser is haunted by the ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley as well as other spirits as they appear in the novel; the spirits of the past Christmas, present and the one that is yet to come. The story begins on a bleak, cold Christmas Eve when Scrooge is visited by his dead friend Ghost warning of the misfortunes that would befall him if he does not change his ways. The main Character Scrooge is an ageing miser who is not only mean to the stranger but also to his only nephew; the son of his dead sister. Earlier that day, he had turned away dinner invitation from his nephew as well as the two men who came seeking for a donation from him to provide food and heating for the poor. That night, Scrooge gets a rather odd guest; Marley's ghost who comes to him wrapped up in the golden chain and money boxes he had collected out of selfishness. He warns him of the three ghosts of Christmas who would later visit him. Despite the different scenes shown by these ghosts, they are all similar in their representation of Scrooge's who's Christmas was not only a time of festive warmth but one dark event.
In the book and to Scrooge, the similarity of the three ghosts comes representation. Indeed, one clear representation of all the three ghosts is choices. After being visited by his friend's ghost, seven years after his death, Scrooge starts a journey inside the spirit world as he encounters the three ghosts of Christmas and their representation in his life. Particularly throughout his travels in the spirit world, the ghosts confront him in the form of choices he had made in the past and the consequential representation of these choices. Some of these choices are haunting to Scrooge, and he had tried forgetting them in the past. Similarly, Scrooge faces his choices in the present and future all that seems important yet given little thought. The ghost of Christmas past, for instance, represents Scrooge and the choices he had forged in the past to make him the person he is presently. The Ghost shows the old miser himself as a young man, as an apprentice and as a boy. This spirit reminded Scrooge of the time when he was still innocent; his lonely days back when he was still a student in a boarding school. After this Scrooge never wanted to see more. "Spirit," he said, "show me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?" (Dickens 245). However, the spirit goes further to show the relationship he had had with his beloved sister Fan as well as his first employer, Mr Fezziwig through a Christmas party. The man treated him as his own. Additionally, the spirit also shows him the scenes of Belle, his neglected fiancee who ended their relationship because of his love for money. Perhaps the most torturing scene for Scrooge when they finally visited Belle's new home. It was the Christmas Eve that his best friend Marley died and after hearing what Belle, who is now married had to say about him, he froze.
Similarly, in the present, the ghost of Christmas present shows Scrooge people at a party busy enjoying themselves. Scrooge who passionately dislikes Christmas realizes how much he had denied himself in the name of gathering more coins. He understands that the Christmas Eve and the presents people give and receive represents shared happiness and the joy found together which is of far greatness compared to stacking more money, alone. He can see that all the individuals in that room are poor yet contented with one another and shares whatever little they have with one another. Before, the spirit had taken Scrooge to a market where people makes their Christmas preparation by buying making of Christmas dinner. It is a joyous place, and everyone knows one another; helping each other shop as they prepare for celebrations of Christmas later that evening. Later, spirit introduces Scrooge to Bob Cratchit's family, and he is quite stunned by the fact that when he is introduced to his clerk's sick son, Tiny Tim who is crippled because of serious illness. After being told that the child might not live to see the next day if the course of events does not change, he quickly becomes worried and asks with an interest he had never felt before; "Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live." (Dickens 253) This shows the transformation Scrooge has made since meeting the first ghost as he feels the kind of affection he had never felt before, therefore changing his perspective of how he views the poor.
The ghost of Christmas Yet to come is unlike the other ghosts and does not dwell in Scrooge's past transgression but on a rather bleak future. This ghost in the form of a prediction shows Scrooge his future and how his death would look like. He tells him of his lonely death and how unsavory characters would occupy his deathbed. In the scenes, the ghost reveals the scenes of the death of a disliked character whose funeral has no loved ones but the local businessmen who are eager to possess his properties. He can see others like his charwoman, local undertaker and laundress already selling some of his belongings over the fence to anyone interest. The ghost further tells him that there are no sad people in his funeral and perhaps the only emotion portrayed during the funeral is by poor individuals who are happy their debts are cleared. After being shown the tenderness portrayed by Cratchit's family over their son's death, he starts to regret. " Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead' " he said (Dickens 254). He also decides to reform and honor the Christmas. " I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." He also promises to live a changed life shaped by past and present while focusing on the future.
Apart from the similarities among the three ghosts as portrayed in the book A Christmas Carol, there are also significant differences among the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present as well as the ghost of Christmas yet to come. For instance, in the book, Charles Dickens describes the ghost of Christmas past as being "...like a child; yet so not like a child but like an old man viewed through a supernatural medium which gives him the appearance of a child's proportion." (Dickens 244) This is an accurate symbolism it portrays exactly Scrooge's past life as a younger Scrooge. Perhaps Dickens saw it fit to describe the ghost that examines the past actions and choices of Scrooge that made him become the man he currently is in an appearance that represents a true past in everyone's life. This ghost is different from the other ghost in appearance as well as the scenes it shows Scrooge. On the contrary, the ghost of Christmas present represents the festive season and is described in a manner that emphasizes the season of plenty and the occasion that it accurately represents. Ideally, the description given by Charles Dickens fits the ghost in that it indicates many people from all over the Scrooge's hometown enjoying the festive season together will all the beautiful sceneries, luxuries and the hype that come along with the celebrations. As Dickens describes, "...there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping around the door." (Dickens 240). Lastly, the description of the Ghost of Christmas yet to come portrays sorrow and sadness as well as the darkness associated with death. Unlike the other ghosts, it indicates the misfortunes that eventually come to Scrooge and how he is remembered after his death.
In conclusion, despite the similarities portrayed by these ghosts in their representation of Scrooge who's Christmas was not only a time of festive warmth but one dark event, there are also differences that can be seen as clearly indicated by Charles Dickens in the book. For instance, the ghost of Christmas past is described as a child to represent Scrooge's childhood. The ghost of the Christmas present, on the other hand, emphasizes the plenty and joy found during the Christmas festivities. Additionally, the ghost of Christmas yet to come portrays the troubles that befall Scrooge in the end.
Dickens, Charles. Christmas carol. Alma Books, 2018.
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