From Charles Dickens's beloved tale, A Christmas Carol, comes this quote. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, and I am as merry as a schoolboy . . . . A merry Christmas to...

From Charles Dickens's beloved tale, A Christmas Carol, comes this quote. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, and I am as merry as a schoolboy . . . . A merry Christmas to everybody!"

Interpret?

Asked on by asteer2

2 Answers

mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

In the story A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens sets out to teach the world he lives in about poverty, treating children with love, and suggesting that we all could learn from Ebeneezer Scrooge.  This quote is from the last stave of the story, after Scrooge has been visited by all three ghosts, and has seen his future if he stays on the same path.  When he wakes in the morning, he throws open the curtains as if opening his world to the good news he now knows--that he can change his life now and change the ending of his life.  After dropping the heavy burden of being Scrooge where he carried all the hurts and slights against him as part of his baggage, this quote illustrates his feelings now.  He is now light as a feather without that burden, he is happy as an angel would be with the change to goodness, light and charity, and the merry as a schoolboy means that he has gone back to being the happy boy he once was, that all children are at Christmas time.  He is now wishing that everyone have a wonderful Christmas, not just those with money, but all those people who exist in this world,rich or poor.  He truly shows his changed life here, and showing us that we too can be as happy as he now is.

Sources:
rmhope's profile pic

rmhope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

This quote comes from the final chapter, or stave, of the novella. As far as the story arc goes, this occurs during the denouement of the story, the falling action. At the end of the previous stave, the climax was reached. Scrooge, upon seeing his tombstone, comes to terms with his own end—that he was the miserable, unloved, friendless wretch he had seen lying on the bed. He determines to "change these shadows . . . by an altered life." 

In Stave 5, he awakes on Christmas morning, thrilled to be alive. He realizes he has been given a second chance, the chance to be a better man. He rejoices, and this series of similes he blurts out is the way he expresses his feelings. Hopping about and dancing in his nightshirt, he makes four comparisons to describe his emotions: 

  • light as a feather: the weight of his guilt for how he has treated people and the fear of his lonely death have vanished, so he now feels light.
  • happy as an angel: since angels are perfectly good and dwell with God, they must be perfectly happy. Since Scrooge has determined to be a good man, he is also happy.
  • merry as a schoolboy: there's some irony here since when we saw Scrooge's past life as a schoolboy, it wasn't particularly happy. But schoolchildren should be without worries, and Scrooge feels his worries have left him, so he feels merry. 
  • giddy as a drunken man: Scrooge is indeed giddy, hopping around and shouting, not from drunkenness, but from joy.

Perhaps more important than any analytical interpretation of Scrooge's words is the effect of his blubbering them all out, stacking one simile on top of the other. The words tumble out to show that he can hardly contain his joy. Finally he exclaims, "A Merry Christmas to everybody!" Since he had been so sour previously, refusing to say "Merry Christmas," this little heartfelt soliloquy demonstrates that he is, indeed, a changed man.

Sources: