A Christmas Carol Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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How does Scrooge react to the two children who emerged from the ghost's robe?

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When the Ghost reveals the two children hiding underneath his robes to Scrooge, Scrooge reacts with (quite understandably!) deep revulsion. These children are described by Dickens as "[y]ellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish..." and as "monsters... horrible and dread."

While Scrooge initially tries to conceal his disgust by calling them "fine children" and inquiring if they are the progeny of the Ghost, he is so overcome by their appearance that he cannot bear to lie.

The Ghost informs Scrooge that these children--named Ignorance and Want--are the offspring of mankind and cautions Scrooge to be cautious in their presence. These figures serve as representations of the great afflictions of humanity and the source of our suffering. The Ghost encourages Scrooge to see beyond the naïveté of his questioning ("Have they no refuge or resource?") and to consider the places where the pain of humanity--a pain that Scrooge is too privileged and isolated to recognize in others--may be found: the prisons and workhouses. 

While the Ghost and his companions disappear shortly thereafter, this is clearly a significant moment for Scrooge in that he is gaining critical awareness of the plights of the less fortunate. 

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