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I think that the novella is meant to present a redemptive vision to humanity and human actions. I am not entirely certain that Dickens meant for it to be so closely identified with the holiday season. I think that the novella has become an inseparable part of the Christmas tradition, as the "Christmas Carol" type of story is always heavily sought after and publicized during the holiday season. In this light, I suppose one sees the overall purpose of the work: The expansion of one's moral imagination to make what is a better version of what can be. It is meant to galvanize people into action in terms of listening to other's suffering and acting to alleviate it. In this light, the story's purpose is accomplished through its automatic embrace.
Charles Dickens's timeless classic "A Christmas Carol" is a tale that reiterates the adage "The best things in life are not things."
In his cupidity, a young Ebenezer Scrooge repels the woman who loved him. In "Stave Two" as the Spirit has Scrooge watch his former self, a young woman tells him, "Another idol has replaced me...a golden idol." When the young Scrooge argues that "there is nothing on which it [the world] is so hard as poverty," she tells him,
You fear the world too much....All your other hopes have merged into the thope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you.....That which promised happiness when we were one in heart, is fraught with misery now that we are two....May you be happy in the life you have chosen.
So, too, has Scrooge lost his friends, whom he admits gave him a hapiness "quite as great as if it cost a fortune." Sadly, only now after his partner dies does Scrooge realize his folly.
In a similar fashion, the other Spirits show Scrooge what he has missed in his miserliness. As he accompanies the Spirit of Christmas Future and Scrooge perceives his corpse, alone and stripped of clothing and curtain, he vows to change his life before it is too late; he spends his time helping others and giving of himself, understanding the reason that Mr. Fezziwig, the employer of his youth, made him feel so happy: he gave of the best things in life.
There are many morals to the story A Christmas Carol and I believe Charles Dickens would want people to take from the story whatever emotions it evokes in them. For me, the story showed that life goes by too fast to be greedy and selfish. What is important are friends and family and every moment with them should be cherished. In the blink of an eye it is over.
It also proved that it is never too late to change. Scrooge realized the time that he had lost but it was not too late for him.
As the previous poster pointed out, there are plenty of morals to the story. One is to not be greedy and that one should cherish the present and the relationships in it. Of course the character of Scrooge is used to show that he ought to have been happier with his relationships and those people rather than chasing money. Thankfully it isn't too late.
It is important to remember, of course, that Charles Dickens also wanted to sell books and make a living. He was a very good storyteller and his books were sold mostly in serial form, they were not considered great literature at the time but he was very successful. So it is worth noting that he also had a rather serious profit motive.
This story is clearly meant to encourage people who read it to act in a certain way. It is meant to tell them that they should not care about getting rich and having money. Instead, they should care about their relationships with other people. They should care about making the world a better place by the way they act.
We can see this in Scrooge's behavior. At first, he is greedy and miserly. This makes him and those around him unhappy. But then he realizes that he should be kinder and more generous and happy. So he changes his ways and that improves things for everyone.
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