How is Scrooge affected by seeing the Cratchits in A Christmas Carol?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Deeply moved by the love and warmth in the home of his clerk, Scrooge also notices that Bob's voice "was tremulous" when he tells the family about Tiny Tim's visit to the church where he tells his father that he hopes others see him so that they will remember that it was Christ who made beggars walk and blind men see.  With this in mind, Scrooge asks the Spirit what will become of Tiny Tim in the future.

'I see a vacant seat'replied the Ghost,'in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved.  If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.'

When Scrooge protests against this future, the Spirit mocks him by retorting with Scrooge's cruel remark about the need for the poor to die, anyway, as they will "decrease the surplus population."  In "penitence and grief," Scrooge hangs his head.  Then, the Spirit reminds Scrooge that it is not for him to decide who is "surplus."  Perhaps, the Almighty may decide Scrooge to be "surplus," less worthy to live than "millions like this poor child."

Thus chastised, Scrooge, "bent before the Ghost's rebuke," lifts his head as he hears his name.  Bob Cratchit then makes a toast to the health of Mr. Scrooge, "the Founder of the Feast."  This toasting is "the first of the proceedings which had no heartiness" since no one else feels anything but resentment toward Scrooge.  Their sentiments are not missed by the miser who realizes he is the "Ogre of the family."

This part of the story begins to effect the change of character in Ebenezer Scrooge.