What are the themes in the last stave of A Christmas Carol?
In Stave 5 of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge wakes up disoriented. He does not know what day it is, and he is relieved that his possessions are still there. It means the events of his dream did not take place.
Scrooge asks the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come why he would show him these visions if he was beyond all hope. He realizes that he should, and can, and will, change.
“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.” (Stave 5, p. 52)
Scrooge praises Marley and Christmas. He is relieved that he is alive, and he has a chance to be redeemed. His visions of the three ghosts have had a huge impact on him. He has seen the error of his ways. He is ready to be a better man.
Scrooge wakes up on Christmas day and is reborn. When he comments that he knows nothing about the day, and wonders if the days have passed, it is as if he was just born.
I don't know anything. I’m quite a baby. Never mind. I don't care. I’d rather be a baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!” (Stave 5, p. 52)
This comment is significant, because Scrooge compares himself to a baby and says he’d rather be one. He is ready to start over, and begin his life anew.
Once he re-orients himself, it is no coincidence that the first thing Scrooge does is buy the Cratchits a turkey. He feels terrible about how little he knew about Cratchit’s family, and how little he has helped them. When Cratchit comes in the next day, he playfully pretends to be angry at him for being late—and then gives him a raise. Scrooge wants Cratchit to understand that he is a different person.
I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! (Stave 5, p. 56)
He apologizes to Cratchit, and his visions of the man—and the toast—tell him that Cratchit does care about him, and will probably be receptive. By bringing up the smoking bishop, he implies that they will be friends now.
One of the reasons Scrooge was so grumpy and lonely was that he pushed people away from him. It is no coincidence that the he becomes a better man by creating his own family out of the Cratchits and Fred.
He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew… (Stave 5, p. 56)
By becoming a part of Fred and the Cratchits’ lives, Scrooge not only redeems himself, but he also lives on. One of the most important lessons Scrooge learned was the importance of family.
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