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Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is broken into five distinctive parts (or staves). The story begins on Christmas Eve with the introduction of Ebenezer Scrooge, the quintessential miser and penny-pinching meany. Scrooge unhappily agrees to allow his clerk a day off for Christmas, but the man must come early to work on the following day. Scrooge refuses an invitation from his nephew to celebrate the holiday, and then turns down a request for a donation for the needy. Later that night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Marley, his old business partner. Like Scrooge, Marley was a miser, and he tells Scrooge to mend his ways; three spirits will visit Scrooge later that night, says Marley's ghost.
During the night, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past. Scrooge revisits his past life as a young boy, a teenager, and as a young adult; he relives the broken engagement by his ex-fiance, Belle, who tells him that he has changed for the worse. The spirit then leads the shaken Scrooge back home.
Scrooge awakens again, and this time he is escorted by the Ghost of Christmas Present. The happy spirit leads Scrooge to the house of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. It is a happy scene, and Scrooge learns facts about Bob's family that he doesn't know. Bob's wife shows her hatred of Scrooge, but Bob toasts his boss in the spirit of Christmas. The ghost shows Scrooge several other examples of the joyous spirit of Christmas before leading him home.
Next, Scrooge is awakened by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Dressed in black, this spirit is the most feared by Scrooge. He leads Scrooge on a trip which shows the miser how much he was hated and how he is not missed by anyone. He is taken to Bob Cratchit's house, where Scrooge learns of the death of Bob's crippled son, Tiny Tim. Lastly, Scrooge visits his own abandoned gravestone.
When Scrooge next awakens, it is morning. Nothing appears to have changed. Incredibly, the ghosts' messages have had an effect on Scrooge. Indeed, he wants to change his ways. He orders a large turkey to be delivered to the Cratchit house, and tips the delivery boy handsomely. In the street, he donates money to a charity and promises them more in the future. He visits his nephew's house, enjoying the camaraderie around him. The next morning, when Bob appears late for work, Scrooge pretends to be angry, preparing to fire him. Instead, he promises Bob a raise. Later, Scrooge becomes like a second father to Tiny Tim, who does survive (thanks to Scrooge's financial support). Scrooge's reformation is complete, and in his future life, he will be remembered as a loving and charitable man.
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