What is the climax and resolution of A Christmas Carol?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of the text can also be described as its turning point, even the point in the story of the greatest tension. In this case, the climax arrives just after the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has shown Scrooge the neglected grave with his own name upon the stone. Scrooge says, 

"Spirit! . . . hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope!"

We know now that Scrooge has changed. He desperately wants to be granted the opportunity to live life differently from the way he has lived it thus far. Scrooge begs to be given a second chance, and he does not yet know if such a chance will be offered to him. This uncertainty creates a great deal of tension. He continues, saying,

"Good Spirit . . . Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! . . . I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"

In this quite tense moment, we feel such sympathy for Scrooge and we want him to get the chance to prove how changed he is. We want to see him do what he says because he has so much power to make so many lives better. He begs, he beseeches, and, perhaps most tellingly, he prays. We have never seen Scrooge to be a man of faith until these final moments that he spends with the spirit. And it is when he holds "up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate reversed" that the spirit shrinks into a bedpost, and Scrooge is once again in his home: he gets his second chance.

The resolution, then, is that Scrooge makes good on the promises he made to the spirit to keep the lessons from all three spirits alive within himself: he joins Fred and his wife for Christmas dinner, he sends food to the Cratchits, he is kind to Bob and offers to better his situation and take care of his family, he donates money to help the poor. The narrator tells us that "Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more . . . "  

thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of any piece of literature is the highest point of interest (not action) wherein the reader understands how the story will resolve (and to what extent the beginning balance is either regained or destroyed.)

In order to determine the climax, then, for A Christmas Carol, the reader must define the main, dominating idea or theme of the work. What is Dickens' message? The notes linked below offer three thematic ideas that work together to provide Dickens' most probable dominant theme: reconciliation and restoration to relationship are always possible, as long as life endures.

Knowing this, the climax of the story occurs when Scrooge asks the final spectre if the shadows of Christmas yet-to-come are only shadows, and not certainties. The reader understands at that point that Scrooge is a changed (or at least changing) man. The remainder of the book illustrates this conversion in a light and entertaining way. Even the mood of the text works to demostrates the truth of Scrooge's transformation.

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax occurs when Scrooge visits the site of his own grave during the visit from the ghost of Christmas future. He comes to a realization about his own treatment of others, leading to the story's resolution, where Scrooge turns over a new leaf of generosity: visiting his nephew, helping Bob Cratchit, and paying for Tiny Tim's medical treatment. He begins a new life of charity rather than greed, and the story ends happily as Scrooge becomes a benefactor rather than a miser.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of the story occurs when Scrooge wakes up and discovers he has a chance to start over again. He goes to his window and asks a passing boy if it's still Christmas. When he discovers it is, he has the boy buy a huge turkey, puts on his best clothes and visits his nephew. The next day, Bob Cratchit comes to work late, but Scrooge raises his salary and announces he will pay Tiny Tim's medical bills. Tiny Tim recovers and Scrooge is able to live a much happier life.

parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax (most heightened point of interest) on a story line usually corresponds to the crisis (point of decision beyond which there is no return). In A Christmas Carol that would be the moment when Scrooge has a change of heart and repents of his past ways. I agree that this is the scene when he witnesses his own grave and reckons with the demon of greed within him once and for all.

playsthething eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of A Christmas Carol comes at the moment that Scrooge sees his own gravestone.  Everything the three Spirits have shown him (the rising action) have led to this moment: the stark realization of the lack of value in his own life.  From this point on, the rest of the story is all falling action showing the turn his life takes from that moment of realization.

lolguys | Student

This NOT written by me, all credits goes to Alexandra .J from cha cha.com

The climax of the story occurs when Scrooge wakes up and discovers he has a chance to start over again. He goes to his window and asks a passing boy if it's still Christmas. The moral of the story is about generosity and love for all your fellow man. ChaCha!