In Stave 3 of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present. On meeting the ghost, Scrooge finds him surrounded by a banquet of food which includes "turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies" and "plum puddings." For Dickens, this represents society as it is in the present. The Industrial Revolution, which was in full swing at the time of writing, has created great opportunities and great wealth for Britain. This wealth, however, has not been equally distributed among the citizens of Britain and this view is supported by the image of the ghost's robe further along in the chapter.
Nestled under the ghost's robe are two children. They are Ignorance and Want, described by Dickens as "Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility." These children are the victims of poverty, of child labor, of all the evils of industrialization. They contrast sharply with the image of the ghost's banquet and Dickens has done this deliberately. He is appealing directly to the reader to appreciate the plight of Britain's industrial poor, especially children, who are the innocent victims of society's unequal distribution of wealth.
This view is supported by the reference to the horn of plenty which appears later in this paragraph.