What happens to Scrooge's belongings in the Christmas future in A Christmas Carol?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scrooge’s belongings are stolen by his employees in the Christmas future.

When Scrooge travels into the future with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, he sees his future self.  He has no idea that the man whose life he is seeing in the future is actually himself.  He thinks of himself as a changed man, and not the miserable lonely man he was.

However, the visions the ghost shows him are from his future if he continues on his present course.  This is the Scrooge who has no one and cares about no one.  This is why when he dies no one is there except the help, and they begin to steal from him almost immediately.  They steal his bedclothes and curtains, and even the shirt off his back.

When Joe, the fence, sees the shirt he asks if Scrooge died of anything contagious.

“Don’t you be afraid of that,” returned the woman. “I an’t so fond of his company that I’d loiter about him for such things, if he did. … It’s the best he had, and a fine one too. They’d have wasted it, if it hadn’t been for me.” (Stave 4)

By wasting it, she means that he was supposed to be buried in it.  The maid, the undertaker, and the laundress all robbed Scrooge as soon as he was dead.  Scrooge is horrified by this.

It takes Scrooge awhile to figure out that he is seeing his own future.  When he finds himself looking at his headstone, he begs the ghost to understand that he is a changed man.

“Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at its robe, “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!” (Stave 4)

Scrooge vows to become a better person, and “honour Christmas” in his heart.  He says he will not shut out the lessons he has learned.  His point is a good one, but so is the ghost's.  Even though the images of the past and future seemed to change Scrooge, he still needed to see what direction he was going if he didn’t change.

Indeed, Scrooge keeps his word.  He donates to charity, visits his nephew, and becomes like a part of Bob Cratchit’s family.  The intervention of the spirits did the trick, and when Scrooge does die, it will not be alone.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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