In 'A Christmas Carol,' how does Dickens use the conversion of Scrooge to solicit an emotional response from the reader?
'A Christmas Carol' is first and foremost a redemption story - an inveterate misanthrope and penny-pincher is touched by grace and 'saved.' In this winter tale of enchantment, elements of the supernatural take on spiritual (and clearly Christian-oriented) significance.
The steps to Scrooge's transformation are chronologically marked in the story line: invocation, reflection (including remembrance), regret, repentence, forgiveness, and finally restoration. The reader's interest is not so much held by suspense but in the manner by which Scrooge discovers, then expresses, empathy and love.
Scrooge is the Everyman of the second chance; when he wakes up from his visions on Christmas Day he discovers it is not too late to change his ways, nor is it too late to the course of events. He can wield the tool of choice and change history. Scrooge is not just a symbol of redemption but also of hope.
The metamorphosis of Scrooge's personality, though, is not just a technical process. Through speech and action, Scrooge leaps out of the pages and into our hearts. His hearty gift-giving and exhuberent joy at the end of the story show to what extent he really has become another man.