How is family portrayed in A Christmas Carol?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this novel, family is portrayed as one of the most important elements of one's happiness. Fred, Scrooge's nephew, continues to invite him, year after year, to his Christmas celebration; why do this if not because family makes Fred happy? He certainly doesn't do it because his invitations are well-received!

Further, Scrooge is very upset when he is shown his former fiancee, Belle's, happy family. She is surrounded by children and is the beloved wife of a man who cares deeply for her; Scrooge realizes that he put his love of money ahead of his love for Belle, just as she said. His money has not made him happy, in the end, but Belle obviously looks very happy with her family.

When the Ghost of Christmas Present shows the Cratchit family to Scrooge, Scrooge eventually comes to the realization that Bob may be poor in wealth, but he and his family are rich in other, more important ways. They are happy because they are together, and it is only the prospect of one of them being unable to come to Christmas dinner that can upset Bob. It is no matter that their dinner is scant and their pudding smells like laundry.

Moreover, being at Fred's with the ghost and listening to the games may be the happiest we ever see Scrooge. Even though one game is played at his expense, he doesn't mind, because being with loved ones makes him so happy. Ultimately, he goes to spend his holiday with Fred and Fred's wife because he seems to have recognized how joyful it would be; further, he allows the Cratchits to have their own family holiday together (without interruption by him), and he offers Bob the partnership when he returns to work the next day.

cateacher | Student

The view of family is dependent upon which character's view is being looked at as well as what point in the story we are discussing.

Bob Cratchit views his family as very important.  His family spends time together dining over a very meager meal, but the important part is that they are together.  They are all so happy when Martha is able to make it home to be with the family for the holiday.

Thank you, dear Lord for your many gifts...our dear children, our wonderful meal: our love for one another....

Fred, Scrooge's nephew, certainly sees the importance of family.  That is why he continues to invite Scrooge to his home even when Scrooge is not at all receptive to the idea.

Scrooge does not see the importance of family at all in the beginning of the story.  He is bothered by the fact that Bob Cratchit wants Christmas Day off from work so he can spend it with his family.  His view is that children are just an expense.  This view is certainly changed by the end of the story when he visits his nephew's home and joins them for a meal.  Scrooge has discovered that there are things in life that are more important than money.

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A Christmas Carol

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