How does Scrooge's attitude towards Bob Cratchit and their relationship change at the end of A Christmas Carol?

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Before his experience with the spirits, Scrooge is known throughout his community as cold, miserly, and mean-spirited. None are more aware of this disposition than Bob Cratchit, who works as Scrooge's clerk. Cratchit is impossibly underpaid and overworked, and still Scrooge complains about the shortcomings that he perceives in his clerk. It is obvious that Scrooge is taking out much of his isolation and bitterness on Cratchit, and it is often Cratchit's severely ill son, Tiny Tim, that pays the dearest price for Scrooge's outrageously poor treatment of his employee. Economic experiments have shown that Cratchit's wages are so poor that translated to a modern economy, they would account for less than $100 a week, an obviously impossible salary to live on.

After Scrooge's experience, however, he finds room in his heart for compassion and is the quickest to make amends with his faithful clerk. He immediately insures that the Cratchit family will have a wonderful Christmas dinner and gives Cratchit a considerable raise. It is said at the close of the story that for the rest of his days, Scrooge remained kind and generous toward the Cratchit family and was something of an additional father figure to Tiny Tim.


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Before Scrooge is visited by Marley's ghost and experiences the three spirits over the course of the night, he treats his humble clerk Bob Cratchit with contempt and distain. In stave 1, Scrooge allows Bob Cratchit to freeze by prohibiting him from using an adequate amount of coal to keep himself warm on the extremely cold day. Scrooge also exercises his tyranny over Bob Cratchit by demanding that he arrive earlier than usual on the day following Christmas after he complains about Bob taking the holiday off.

As the story progresses, Scrooge is visited by three spirits, who take him on a journey to the past, present, and future, which allows Scrooge to recognize his corrupt, malicious ways. In stave 3, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who takes him to Bob Cratchit's home during Christmas, where Scrooge is touched by Bob's compassionate, disabled son, Tiny Tim. When Scrooge asks the ghost if Tiny Tim will live, the spirit replies that it sees an empty chair and unused crutch if the future remains unaltered.

After Scrooge witnesses his bleak, dismal future, he awakens on Christmas Day a completely changed man. Scrooge's attitude towards Bob Cratchit and his family significantly changes, and he proceeds to purchase a prized turkey for the Cratchit family. The next day, Scrooge surprises Bob by giving him a raise and has a lovely dinner with the Cratchit family. Dickens also writes that Scrooge becomes like a second father to Tiny Tim and is a benevolent, kind master to Bob for the remainder of his life.

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Very simply, Bob Cratchit changes from being a thing to emerging as a human being in Scrooge's eyes. When the story opens, Scrooge knows nothing about his employee. He can't do without his clerk, but he resents having to pay him, and he doesn't even give him enough coal to stay warm. He definitely resents having to pay Bob for Christmas, Cratchit's one paid holiday of the year. To Scrooge, Cratchit is nothing more than a necessary machine, and he wants to keep the cost of maintaining this machine as low as possible.

That all changes when the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to see the Cratchit family's Christmas. For the first time, Scrooge begins to understand that Bob is a human being embedded in a network of relationships. He realizes that Bob has a family to support. Scrooge especially feels for poor Tiny Tim and starts to make a connection between the young boy's probable death and the very low wages he pays his father. Cratchit loves his son, but simply can't afford adequate medical care for him.

At the end, Scrooge sends a giant turkey to the Cratchits, gives Cratchit a raise, and becomes involved with the Cratchit family, especially Tiny Tim, who does not die. Scrooge moves from using people and loving things to using things and loving people. 

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In Stave One of A Christmas Carol, we meet Scrooge and his employee, Bob Cratchit, for the first time. From their conversation, it is clear Scrooge's attitude towards Bob is cold and uncaring and that their relationship is strained. Scrooge accuses Bob of "picking his pockets," for example, when he asks to take Christmas Day as a vacation. Also, Scrooge expects Bob to work in the cold office without a decent fire to keep his hands warm.

By the final stave of the story, however, Scrooge's attitude has changed significantly. Scrooge gives Bob a pay rise, for instance, and he donates a large turkey to the family for their Christmas Day meal. This kind attitude is coupled with a growing friendship between the two men, demonstrated most clearly by Scrooge's relationship with Tiny Tim, to whom he becomes a "second father."

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