What does Fezziwig symbolize in A Christmas Carol?

Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol can be said to symbolize the true meaning of Christmas. Every year, he generously threw a lavish celebration for his employees at which everyone, including young Scrooge, had a great time.

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Fezziwig is the employer whose long-ago Christmas celebration the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge. As the ghost and Scrooge watch, Mr. Fezziwig throws a generous and lively Christmas feast for his employees and others:

There were... dances, and there was cake, and there was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer.

Mr. Fezziwg symbolizes all the good that a person with money and power can spread. Unlike Scrooge, he chooses to uses his wealth to bring happiness and good cheer to others. He is generous and open with what he has, and when the ghost criticizes the party as a "small" thing for costing only a few pounds, Scrooge quickly jumps to Fezziwig's defense. Scrooge says that creating such a sense of belonging and merriment was no small matter in the lives of the clerks.

Mr. Fezziwg acts as a reminder of Scrooge's forgotten youth, representing a time of innocence before Scrooge was infected with a money-making zeal and greed that overwhelmed and tainted everything it touched in his life.

Seeing Fezziwig begins the process of awakening Scrooge's long-repressed memories of what it was like to be happy and live in a caring community. He suddenly remembers enjoying those days greatly. He wishes with regret that he could he go back in time a few hours and say some kind words to Bob Cratchit.

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Ebenezer Scrooge wasn't always a miserly old skinflint who hates Christmas. Back in the day, he really used to enjoy the holiday season, not least because he had a generous employer who used to throw lavish Christmas parties for his workforce.

This employer, Mr. Fezziwig, was the living embodiment of the true meaning of Christmas, with all its generosity and munificence of spirit. Unlike the older Scrooge, Fezziwig always saw the Christmas season as a time for enjoyment and happiness, a time for celebration. As such, he didn't think twice about throwing such elaborate parties at which so many people, and not just Fezziwig and his employees, had a really great time.

Fezziwig's parties remind us what Scrooge used to be like when he was a young man. He too used to enter into the party spirit, enjoying himself as much as anyone. But unlike Fezziwig, Scrooge would eventually allow greed to enter his soul, which meant that making a profit became more important to him than anything else. Business was business, whatever it said on the calendar. As a consequence of this change in attitude, Scrooge lost touch with the true meaning of Christmas, and he developed a profound loathing and contempt for the holiday.

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Fezziwig symbolizes all the good that a human can possess, particularly a human who is a business owner.  When Scrooge revisits his past, he is reminded of what a boss can and should be.  He treats both Ebenezer Scrooge and Dick Wilkins wonderfully, telling them "No more work to-night," in direct contrast with Scrooge's constant effort to work every last second out of his own employee, Bob Cratchit.  He throws a wonderful party, and is himself the epicenter of the joy and energy of it.  During the dances, Old Fezziwig and his wife are more than a match for all the other, younger dancers.  Dickens writes

A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves.  They shone in every part of the dance like moons.  You couldn't have predicted, at any given time, what would become of them next.


Dickens as already established a strong correlation between goodness and light, but here he gives us a human character who seemingly radiates goodness so much goodness that it is almost literally manifests itself. 

As the party goes on, and Scrooge finds himself absorbed in the light and joy that is Fezziwig, the Ghost of Christmas Past baits Scrooge slightly, wondering why people care so much for Fezziwig when the man hasn't spent that much money "to make these silly folks  so full of gratitude."  Here Scrooge replies

It isn't that, Spirit.  He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then?  The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.


Through manner and deeds, Old Fezziwig symbolizes all that is charitable and good within humankind, and he serves as not only a mentor in Scrooge's past, but a guide for Scrooge's future.

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In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Fezziwig symbolizes all that Scrooge is not. Fezziwig was the kind, compassionate employer who Scrooge apprenticed under as a young man. On Christmas Eve, Fezziwig shuttered up his business and threw a large, rambunctious party for his employees, family, and friends.

"Yo ho, my boys!'' said Fezziwig. "No more work to-night. Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer! Let's have the shutters up,'' cried old Fezziwig, with a sharp clap of his hands, "before a man can say, Jack Robinson!"

He valued his young apprentices and his business but he was able to put his work aside to enjoy the fruits of his labor with family and friends. Fezziwig, along with his loving wife, showed gratitude to all of the people who worked for them or provided services such as the baker and butcher. He was the antithesis of what Scrooge became. As Scrooge watched the party scene, a knowing look crossed his face as he traveled to the past with the Ghost who guided him through his past.

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