In A Christmas Carol, what image of the Cratchit family does Dickens give us?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is the Ghost of Christmas Present that takes Scrooge to view the Christmas that the Cratchit family enjoys, and it is notable that in spite of the many years that Bob Cratchit has worked for Scrooge, Scrooge has never visited his family home. What stands out above all about the Cratchit family is the way that, in spite of their want and poverty, they share the warmth of human love and affection, which is in marked contrast to Scrooge, who, in spite of all of his wealth, is not able to participate in such a relationship. Consider the way that Dickens concludes his portrait of the Cratchits:

They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But, they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time; and when they faded, and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit's torch at parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last.

Dickens shows us therefore through the Cratchit family that wealth does not necessarily bring happiness, and that it is not necessary to be rich to enjoy warmth and human affection. This of course has the effect of filling Scrooge with a yearning for something he only experienced a very long time ago.


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