How did Scrooge change as a result of his visit with the Ghost of Christmas Present?  

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perfectsilence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scrooge changed in a number of ways as a result of his visit with the Ghost of Christmas Present, mainly because of the tactics employed by the spirit.  The Ghost of Christmas Present relies heavily on shock value to get Scrooge to change.  For example, even before he "meets" the ghost, Scrooge is forced to take the first step in changing.  While the Ghost of Christmas Past appeared in Scrooge's room, coming to the old miser, Scrooge must get up out of bed and enter into another room of his home in order to make contact with the Ghost of Christmas Present.  The effort must be Scrooge's.  Upon entering the room, he is shocked by what he sees.  The walls are hung with garlands and mistletoe, a great feast is piled all around, and the fireplaces blazes warmer and brighter than it ever did when tended by Scrooge.  

The Ghost of Christmas Present also employs a specific tactic to help Scrooge change.  More than the other spirits, this ghost makes a habit of throwing Scrooge's own words back in his face.  After the ghost takes Scrooge to see the Cratchits, Scrooge inquires about Tiny Tim's future.  He asks if the child will be spared, to which the spirit replies "If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population" (50).  These are the same words that Scrooge uttered to the men who came to his door in Stave One, asking for alms for the poor.  Upon hearing his own words coming back to him, "Scrooge hung his head" (50).  He is already beginning to understand the full import of his words and his worldview.

The spirit also takes Scrooge to a number of other scenes involving miners, a ship at sea, and two men in a solitary lighthouse.  Each of the scenes reveals people who, despite their experiencing harsh circumstances, are happy because they feel the true spirit of Christmas.  These scenes also help to show Scrooge what it is like "in the real world," and how it isn't money, but fellowship, that is the key to happiness and the meaning of life.  Even when taken to his nephew's house, and seeing Fred and his friends enjoying one another's company, Scrooge gets so caught up in the merriment that he wishes to be playing along with them.

Finally, Scrooge's experience with the two children under the cloak of the spirit help to shape him greatly.  The two children are referred to as Ignorance and Want, and their very appearance appalls Scrooge.  They are "meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility" (61).  They are the embodiment of the problems that come from Scrooge's callous, detached worldview.  Scrooge asks the spirit if the two children have no place to seek help for their condition, at which time the spirit again throws Scrooge's own words back in his face, asking "[a]re their no prisons?  [...] Are there no workhouses?" (61).  Even as they part, the spirit again reminds Scrooge of the problems with Scrooge's worldview, thus helping Scrooge to change by confronting who he has become.  

These are the very last words that the spirit speaks to Scrooge.  Before Scrooge can react to them, the bell strikes twelve and Scrooge is left alone.  However, with the disappearance of the Ghost of Christmas Present comes the shocking appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, "a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him" (62).  Even the final act of the Ghost of Christmas Present relies on shock value, and sets Scrooge up for the final stage in his change.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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