In "A Christmas Carol," were the two women and the man selling items from Scrooge's room or office to Old Joe?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In stave 4 of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge a scene in which he has died and two women are selling his belongings  to Old Joe. What is most important about this scene is not that Scrooge has died, as death is inevitable, but the fact that Scrooge's belongings have been left for anybody to come and take. The two women have all manner of goods, from sugar tongs to boots and curtains, which they have removed from Scrooge's house. 

The key question here is why were all these items left in the house, for anyone to take? One of the women sums up the answer perfectly:

"Why wasn't he natural in his lifetime? If he had been, he'd have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death, instead of lying gasping out his last there, alone by himself.''

In other words, Scrooge had died alone because he was a cold and greedy person who made no effort to cultivate relationships with others. As such, his house was left untouched after his death because nobody cared about the fate of his possessions nor wished to have a memento of him. Looking on, Scrooge realises the impact of this message and it aids in the transformation of his character. We see evidence of this in Scrooge's remarks to the ghost: "The case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that way, now."

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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