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In Stave II of Charles Dicksens' A Christmas Carol, what does the light represent?

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bsimone94 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2008 at 2:09 AM via web

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In Stave II of Charles Dicksens' A Christmas Carol, what does the light represent?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 8, 2008 at 2:19 AM (Answer #1)

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I have always read the light as being representative of love and caring for others.  Remember how Scrooge is bothered by it and requests the spirit to pull his cap down on his head further so the light would be extinguished?  The spirit becomes upset and offended, but at this point in Scrooge's "growth", he is not yet ready to open up completely to the love and emotions that come with having friends and family surround you during the holidays.  He is ready to squash it or "turn it out" as he has done in his earthly life so far.  This is why the spirit becomes so upset and angry with him...one, the spirit wants to bask in that light (it is beautiful and warm), and two, Scrooge isn't learning much when he continues along the same path he has always traveled.

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aebear97 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 2, 2010 at 4:02 AM (Answer #2)

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We are currently reading the book and my Pre-AP reading teacher said that the light symbolizes truth...Hope this helps:)

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 16, 2014 at 5:17 PM (Answer #3)

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In Stave I of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenzer Scrooge is visted by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his now-deceased former business partner who has appeared before the miserly, bitter old man to warn him of the perils to come unless he changes his ways.  It is, of course, the Christmas season, and the story of the birth of Jesus hangs in the air as a reminder of the season’s true meaning.  The ghost of Jacob Marley rhetorically inquires of himself and of Scrooge the reason he let so many holy seasons pass without acknowledging those around him:

“At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said, “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise  Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!”

In Stave II, after the ghost of Marley has warned Scrooge and informed him that he would be visited by three spirits, the old man waits anxiously in his bed.  At the prescribed time, the first of the three spirits announces itself:

“He spoke before the hour bell sounded, which it now did with a deep, dull, hollow, melancholy ONE. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, and the curtains of his bed were drawn.”

Interpretations of the meaning of the light can vary, but, in the context of Marley’s acknowledgment of the true meaning of the season, and in the context of Scrooge’s imminent moral awakening, it is possible that the light represents both the “blessed Star” and the moment Scrooge’s transcendental transformation from “scrooge” to jovial, benevolent pillar of the community.

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