What is the setting of A Christmas Carol?
While I agree with the first commenter that this novel isn't determined by its setting in Victorian London, this setting does allow for an analysis of the way one can make a choice in terms of one's priorities. Descriptions relating to Scrooge are dark and dismal, related to the fact that he is never satisfied and always wants to acquire more money, just as it is possible to see only the dark and dismal side of London. To be sure, there is a great deal of poverty and want.
However, the lengthy description of the festivities on Christmas Eve shows, like the holiday at the Cratchits' house, that people who find joy in things other than money -- family, love, friendship, and so forth -- are able to see the world in a brighter way. Take the poor men huddled around the fire, their eyes winking as they enjoy the camaraderie and warmth together. They have very little, but they are happy in this moment because they don't place a high premium on money like Scrooge does.
When Scrooge prioritizes money, he is miserable, and London, to him, seems like a dark place. When he begins to prioritize the family, love, and the needs of others over his own, London seems brighter.
A Christmas Carol takes place in various settings across the city of London during the 19th century. This city setting is important because it helps to create a cold and gloomy atmosphere, as shown through the descriptions in Stave One:
The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms.
In addition, there are a number of other settings within the city. There is Scrooge's counting house, for example, where he works with Bob Cratchit. This setting is significant because it is symbolic of Scrooge's desire for wealth and success. Much of the story also takes place in Scrooge's home, a dark and isolated place which reflects Scrooge's miserly, cold-hearted character.
Other settings include Scrooge's boarding school, Fezziwig's party, the Cratchit family home, and Old Joe's shop. Scrooge is also taken to a ship, a mining community, and a churchyard by the spirits to see what life is like outside of his domain and, more importantly, to understand the value of kindness and community.
The setting of A Christmas Carol is not determined so much by the physical surroundings of a dismal life in Victorian England, where there is great disparity between rich and poor, but by the conditions of Ebenezer Scrooge's life, his bare existence. He is distant and cold, indifferent to those around him, unmoved by the suffering of the masses, and even estranged from his own family.
The settings reflect Scrooge's attitude and temperament. His home is cold and indifferent, lacking warmth. Yet, Bob Cratchit's home, though meager compared to Scrooge's is warm and full of love.
The home of Fred, the nephew whom Scrooge refuses to accept because his sister Fan died in childbirth, is warm and joyful.
Scrooge cannot allow this type of setting in his home or his heart, until he is transformed by the coldest setting in the book, a visit to his own grave.
The same is true for the locations that he visits with the three spirits.
A Christmas Carol is set in a poor section of London, England, during the Industrial Revolution (1800s). The book takes place mainly in Scrooge's business, Scrooge's house, and Bob Cratchit's house.