The Spirit shows Scrooge with his sister and says "... she had a large heart .'' What does he say next to make Scrooge  feel uneasy in his mind in A Christmas Carol?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Spirit reminds Scrooge that his sister died young.

When Scrooge is visited by the Spirit of Christmas Past, he sees visions from his past.  These visions help the reader understand how Scrooge became the person he is.  One of the visions Scrooge sees is his younger sister when he goes past to his past and sees himself as a boy.

When Scrooge was a young boy, he was shipped off to boarding school.  His mother seems to have died, and he was forced to remain at the school alone during holidays.  There were no other boys there, and the school was a dreary, lonely, terrible place.  Poor young Scrooge had no one but his books for company.  However, one day his younger sister came to take him home.

“I have come to bring you home, dear brother!” said the child, clapping her tiny hands, and bending down to laugh. “To bring you home, home, home!”

“Home, little Fan?” returned the boy. (Stave 2)

This scene is significant because it shows that she had to strum up the courage to ask their father to bring him home, and he wasn’t even allowed to come home on holidays.  The description of the school is also pretty terrible. It is shabby and cold.  Fan seems like a lovely sister.  She justifies the ghost’s comment about her having a good heart. 

Father is so much kinder than he used to be, that home's like Heaven! He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed, that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home; and he said Yes …” (Stave 2)

However, she was also very small, and frail, and this leads her to die too young.  This leads to the ghost’s comment about her dying young.

Always a delicate creature, whom a breath might have withered,” said the Ghost. “But she had a large


“So she had,” cried Scrooge. “You’re right. I’ll not gainsay it, Spirit. God forbid!”

“She died a woman,” said the Ghost, “and had, as I think, children.” (Stave 2)

 She lives long enough to have one child, Fred, meaning that Scrooge has a nephew.  Scrooge is not without family.  Fred seems to have many of the characteristics of Fan.  He asks Scrooge to dinner on Christmas Day, every year, even though Scrooge will not come.  When Scrooge finally does come, he invites him in and thinks nothing of it.

Everyone has a past.  Scrooge may not have had the best childhood, but the one thing he did have was his sister.  When he grew up, he slowly lost touch with any loving relationships and his sister’s death must have hit him hard.  It probably hit him so hard that he could not bring himself to keep in touch with Fred.  However, one of the first things he does when he decides to change is go to Fred’s house, because Fred is the only family he has.