In A Christmas Carol, what happens to Scrooge's belongings in Christmas Future?  What does he learn from this?

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amy-lepore's profile pic

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

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Ebenezer witnesses his servants and other mistreated unfortunates stealing what they can from his home--ripping down his bed curtains, scooping up piles of clothing--in the hopes that they will be worth something.  He watches as they collect at the local junk dealer's place of business to discuss what they have and how much he will pay them for it. 

In addition, no one really mourns the death of Scrooge.  They are only there to see what they can get from what is left behind. 

To Ebenezer Scrooge, this is a sad testament to the way he has lived his life.  He wants that to change so that when he does die, people will come to the funeral to show how much he the person meant to them...not to snatch a curtain to sell later for some personal gain.

In short, he has learned that people are worth more than things, and he needs to change his greedy, miserly, miserable, and unloving ways.

This is why, upon his return from the Christmases Future experience, he is joyous to find he still has time.  He pays the young boy to get the turkey and sends it to the Cratchit home. He buys toys for area children, he attends Christmas dinner at his nephew's, and he gives Cratchit a raise.  We see from his behavior that his future will be different than that the ghosts have shown him.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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After the Ghost of Christmas Future visits Scrooge, the old miser hears businessmen speaking of someone's death and the reference is made to "Old Scratch" being finally dead (Old Scratch is a name for the devil).

Scrooge soon finds himself taken to a rather seedy section of the city where people have brought stolen goods. One of the women, a laundress, justifies her theft, saying that Scrooge should have been kinder during life and he would have had someone to whom he could have left his riches. 

"If he wanted to keep 'em after he was dead, a wicked old screw," pursued the woman, "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."

As he listens, Scrooge realizes that the very shirt in which he was prepared for death has been taken from his dead body. Scrooge is repulsed as he listens to the thieves, pondering the little value given to his life. As he shudders in terror, Scrooge finds himself on his deathbed having been plundered and left in a tragic condition.

"Spirit!" he said, "this is a fearful place. In leaving it, I shall not leave its lesson, trust me. Let us go!"

As Scrooge is taken back, he vows,

"I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"

The Spirit repels him, though. Still, Scrooge holds his hands up in prayer. Then, he sees the Phantom shrink and fade. "I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" Scrooge vows.

The next day is Christmas Day, and it is a changed Scrooge who has a huge turkey sent to the Crachit home; then, he arrives at his nephew's, where he accepts an invitation to dinner. The next day, he raises the salary for Bob Crachit. Indeed, Scrooge has learned to be kinder and generous. He has care given to Tiny Tim, and the boy thinks of Mr. Scrooge as a father. 

While some people laugh at the changes made in Scrooge, his own "heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him."

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