How does Dickens present Scrooge's redemption in stave five of A Christmas Carol?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scrooge has a deeply emotional response to the visit of the ghosts. This results in a joyful and lasting personal transformation. As he awakes on Christmas morning he thinks:

Time before him was his own, to make amends in! “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. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this!

As a result of his transformation, Scrooge begins to live generously. He also becomes sociable with his relatives and neighbors. Sociality and generosity are the hallmarks of his change. He takes a benevolent and paternal interest in the Cratchits, gives Bob Cratchit a raise, helps Tiny Tim, visits his relatives cheerfully, and does good for his community.

It is striking that this a personal transformation of one person. Nothing else about his society has changed. This reflects Dickens's belief that individual actions, especially on the part of the powerful, can have a profound effect for the good on society as a whole. Whether these kinds of efforts alone are enough to create a good society is an open question, but one Dickens found appealing. At the end of the stave, he urges his readers to follow Scrooge's lead:

It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By stave five, Scrooge has been visited by all three spirits and the process of reforming his character is complete. This stave is, therefore, concerned with presenting Scrooge's redemption which contains Dickens' most important message: if you work hard to change your ways, good things will come to you.

We see examples of this message at numerous points in stave five. By reaching out to others, Scrooge is able to secure the prize turkey and send it to the Cratchits, for instance, and be reconciled with the man who visited him on the previous day asking for a charitable donation. Scrooge is also able to enjoy Christmas dinner with his nephew, Fred, where he feels "at home" in five minutes, even after all that has passed between them.

Perhaps the most important example of Dickens' redemptive message is in Scrooge's relationship with Tiny Tim. To him, Scrooge becomes a "second father" and he greatly improves Tim's circumstances by giving Bob a pay rise which assists the "struggling" family.

Finally, Scrooge's redemption demonstrates another key message: that if you do good deeds, all that came before will be forgotten. We see this at its most illustrative in the closing lines of the story: "He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world."

Further Reading:
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In stave five, Dickens portrays Scrooge's redemption by depicting his change of heart, his new outlook on life, and his generous attitude toward those he previously neglected. Scrooge wakes up with a new appreciation for life and sings the praises of the spirits that visited him the previous night. Scrooge then runs out into the street and offers a random boy a large sum of money to deliver the biggest Christmas turkey in the city to Bob Cratchit's home. Scrooge then reveals his charity by donating a significant amount of money to the portly gentlemen he dismissed the previous day. Scrooge also visits his nephew Fred and has a wonderful time celebrating Christmas at his home. The next day, Scrooge gives Bob Cratchit a generous raise and has dinner with his family. Dickens also writes that Scrooge becomes like a second father to Tiny Tim. Scrooge atones for his greedy personality and past sins by becoming a generous, benevolent man, who blesses everyone he encounters. Dickens writes,

He [Scrooge] became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world (91).

Overall, Dickens presents Scrooge's redemption by illustrating his change of heart and benevolent nature in stave five.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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