How does Bob Cratchit's attitude toward Scrooge differ from his wife's in A Christmas Carol?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After the Cratchits' Christmas feast, Bob expresses a desire to toast to Mr. Scrooge, his employer, whom he calls "'the Founder of the Feast.'"  Mrs. Cratchit, on the other hand, expresses her absolute disgust at such an idea when she says,

The Founder of the Feast indeed! [...]  I wish I had him here.  I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it.

She scoffs at the idea that Mr. Scrooge is the founder of their feast, very likely because her husband works so hard and earns such a meager wage from his employer.  She claims that if she had Mr. Scrooge there to yell at, she'd have quite a lot to yell.  This is somewhat funny because it does seem a bit of a gender role reversal for the time.  The wife would typically be thought of as the one who would behave meekly and mildly, and the husband would be more assertive, in terms of speaking up for himself.  And yet, Mrs. Cratchit has quite strong opinions on the subject of Mr. Scrooge, and she is evidently unafraid to contradict her husband by expressing them, while Mr. Cratchit is somewhat more mild-mannered than she is.  She continues,

It should be Christmas Day, I am sure [...] on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge.  You know he is, Robert!

She claims that Christmas Day is the only possible day during the year on which she could be prevailed upon to spend any well-wishes on the likes of Mr. Scrooge.  She says that he's a pretty terrible person, which is true, and even "The mention of his name cast a dark shadow on the party, which was not dispelled for a full five minutes."  In other words, despite the family's absolute happiness and joy, even in their poverty, the only thing that could bring their mood down is the mention of Mr. Scrooge.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bob Cratchit respects Scrooge and is happy he has a job. He even wants to make a toast to him on Christmas eve. Bob's wife, however, seems to hate Scrooge. She probably dislikes the man because she sees how hard her husband works and how little he is paid. She also has a young son that will die without medical attention and Scrooge does not pay Cratchit enough to get proper medical care for Tiny Tim.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Stave 3, the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to observe Christmas in the Cratchit house. Scrooge sees that they do not have much. The clothes of the women are old and worn, decorated with ribbons to make them beautiful. The best shirt of one of the sons is one that was handed down from his father and Tiny Tim is quite sick. He also sees that they are a happy family and full of love for one another and the spirit of the season in spite of the things that they lack.

As they sit around the fire after their meal, Bob proposes a toast to Scrooge, referring to Scrooge as "the founder of the feast." His wife gets upset and says that she wishes that Scrooge were there so that she could give him a piece of her mind. Bob reminds her that it is Christmas. She agrees then to toast Scrooge for the sake of her husband and because it is Christmas, but not out of any affection for Scrooge. Bob's wife seems to see their situation as the fault of Scrooge, while Bob seems to have no resentment toward Scrooge.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial