Symbolism In A Christmas Carol

What are five symbols that appear in A Christmas Carol?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Symbols are widely used throughout A Christmas Carol. Below are some that you can find in the text:

  1. Scrooge's home in stave one is dark, cold, and unwelcoming. Therefore, it represents the social isolation which he craves and acts as his sanctuary from the rest of the world.
  2. Marley's chains also appear in stave one, and they function as a reminder that our actions have consequences. As Marley comments, he made the chain around his neck by being selfish and greedy throughout his life ("I made it link by link, and yard by yard"). As such, Dickens uses the chains as a warning to the reader that one cannot escape the consequences of such behavior.
  3. The children "Ignorance" and "Want" appear in the third stave and not only represent the plight of Victorian children (and the poor, more generally) but also the dangers of social neglect. By creating these children, Dickens reminds us to be inclusive as a society and to care for those who are in need of help. 
  4. Scrooge's gravestone in the fourth stave is symbolic of his heartless and miserly ways. Notice that it is described as "neglected." Scrooge has nobody to tend to it because he did not foster good relationships when he has alive.
  5. The turkey which Scrooge buys in the final stave is symbolic of the reformation of his character. The fact that Scrooge buys the biggest one is evident of the strength of his change: he is totally reformed and ready to live a good and selfless life.
fezziwig eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are few symbols in A Chirstmas Carol.

1. The three ghosts are very symbolic; they represent Scrooge's life in the past, present, and the future.

2. The light from the Ghost of Christmas Past is very symbolic of the truth, and the truth it reveals is that Scrooge's past Christmases were mostly filled with loneliness.

3. The Ghost of Christmas Present symbolizes all the joy and generosity of Christmas which is very evident by the mound of food it is sitting on when Scrooge meets him, and by the torch it bears which bestows blessings upon poor meals the most.

4. The chain around Marley's waist is symbolic of his greed and misplaced values in life, as well as his penance.

5. The hearth in the Cratchit's home as well as "fire" which is prevalent throughout the entire Carol are strong symbols. The hearth symbolizes love and family, and the fire represents hope, human compassion, and the Christmas spirit

6. Scrooge is a symbol of the Victorian aristocracy who viewed the poor as a scourge upon the earth and thought the world would better if they died, as Scrooge alludes to in the Carol.

A Christmas Carol is full of symbols, and these are but a few of them. By the way, recognizing symbols is part of the enjoyment of reading, so have some fun by looking for some of your own.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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