What does Cratchit ask for from Scrooge?Christmas Carol summary

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator tells us that, in the past, when Cratchit has asked Mr. Scrooge for additional coal to warm the office, "the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part."  In other words, when Cratchit attempts to procure more coal for Scrooge's office, Scrooge threatens to fire him!

However, Cratchit doesn't technically ask Scrooge for the day off.  It is Scrooge that brings it up, saying, "'You'll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?'"  And it is, again, Scrooge that suggests Cratchit would expect to be paid for this holiday off, asking, "'If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound?'"  In other words, he implies that Cratchit would feel it to be unjust if he weren't paid for the day, though the clerk, himself, never actually says it aloud.  Scrooge is bitter, to be sure, but Cratchit doesn't technically ask him for the day off, or to be paid for it; Scrooge merely anticipates the request.

Finally, after the visitations of the three ghosts, on the day after Christmas, Cratchit returns to work; however, he is nearly twenty minutes late.  When Scrooge brings it to Cratchit's attention, Cratchit apologizes for his lateness, acknowledging his responsibility to be prompt.  When Scrooge orders him into Scrooge's office, Cratchit says,  

"It's only once a year, sir . . .  It shall not be repeated.  I was making rather merry yesterday, sir."

Here, Cratchit implicitly requests forgiveness for his lateness from Scrooge.  He assumes that he will not be fired when he states that he won't repeat the behavior, and he offers as his excuse that he's only ever late this one day per year and that he'd been "making merry" the night before (as, presumably, he never does but once per year).  Therefore, Cratchit does, in a way, ask forgiveness for his lateness.  

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the author has Bob Cratchit ask for a day off on Christmas Day for a reason. Scrooge's reaction will showcase his whole personality to the reader, saving the author a whole lot of work, although of coursde he does go on to expand the character further.

In the novel, Scrooge will have one last chance to show charity and common human kindness before his soul goes to its eternal rest - and reward - or otherwise. Dickens wishes to highlight the money-grubbing,penny-pinching,avaricious,self-serving attitude of Victorian business to the working man. In one answer we see Scrooge show his true colours he refuses a loyal, industrious worker and family man time with his struggling family on Christmas Day - he is economical to the point of extremes and,as he is not poor, he has no excuse.Cratchit only wanted a day off with pay. The mean habit has become so ingrained in Scrooge that he no longer sees himself doing it - or as others see him. This is what the spirits will be sent to show him.

fezziwig eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cratchit simply asks Scrooge for Christmas Day off, with pay of course. Scrooge begrudingly gives him the day off, but not without a lecture and not without an attempt of making Cratchit feel guilty for, as Scrooge says, taking Christmas day off with pay is like "picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December." This statement obviously implies that Cratchit is stealing money from Scrooge for taking Christmas Day off.

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A Christmas Carol

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