A Christmas Carol Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What quotes describe how Scrooge changes in A Christmas Carol (Stave 3)?

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Scrooge begins to care about other people in Stave Three.

At the beginning of Stave Three, Scrooge has already begun to change.  The journey into his past demonstrated to him that he chose to be alone.  It also reminded him of the people who used to be in his life, and the pain that he has experienced in the past.

Scrooge is extremely reflective as he watches Christmas present unfold.  Part of the experience is seeing people go about their lives and be happy as they celebrate the holiday together.  When he watches his clerk Bob Cratchit and his family, he shows that he is changing by the question he asks the ghost about Tiny Tim.

“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”

“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.” (Stave 3)

Before this, Scrooge never paid any attention to Cratchit’s family and didn’t care about their health or anyone else’s.  He told the men collecting for charity that he supported prisons and workhouses, not charities.  Yet here he is, asking about Tiny Tim and feeling sad when he learns that he might die.

Another example of Scrooge’s change in perception and behavior is his reaction to Ignorance and Want.  These are the children hiding under the Ghost of Christmas present’s robe.  When Scrooge inquiries about them, the ghost throws his words back at him.

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?” (Stave 3)

The ghost is reminding his charge that he has a lot to atone for.  Scrooge was not a friend to his fellow man.  Now Scrooge is obviously a very different man.  He actually cares about Tiny Tim and the children.

When the third ghost appears, Scrooge tells him he is ready to learn whatever lessons the ghost has to teach.  In his mind, he is a new man.  He demonstrates this again when he sees his headstone, reminding the ghost that he would not have been shown the visions if there was no hope for him.

Dickens is telling us that anyone can change.  In the climax of the story, Scrooge’s own words are thrown back at him.  He realizes that, as Jacob Marley said, mankind is his business.  From this point on, Scrooge vows to change and he does.  Scrooge is a different man after his journey with the ghosts.  He allows people into his life, and does his best to help the needy anywhere he can.

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