What were some examples of Unitarinism in A Christmas Carol?
Charles Dickens was a member of the Unitarian Universalist church, having converted from the traditional Anglican church when he was in his 30s. In the nineteenth century, the Unitarian Universalist church believed strongly in helping others, social justice, avoiding materialism, and focusing on doing things to make the world a better place.
In A Christmas Carol, Dickens used Scrooge’s transformation to reflect a man changed from a selfish, money-loving, intolerant miser into a kind, generous humanitarian. He is completely different from the “bah humbug” Scrooge at the beginning of the story:
“I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”
Scrooge learns to focus on being a good human being by noticing the needs of others, fulfilling them when he can. He became a well-respected, even loved member of the community.
He begins by anonymously sending the Cratchits a large Christmas goose and delighting in thinking about the happiness he will give the family. Later he walks the streets, wishing people well:
“He dressed himself all in his best, and at last got out into the streets. The people were by this time pouring forth, as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present; and walking with his hands behind him, Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. He looked so irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good-humoured fellows said, ‘Good morning, sir! A merry Christmas to you!’”
He has learned to put people before money and objects, a main tenant of Unitarian beliefs.
When he sees the portly gentleman who had visited his office the day before asking for charitable donations, Scrooge pledges a large sum of money: “A great many back payments are included in it, I assure you,” he explains to the man. Instead of wanting people to die to "decrease the surplus population,” Scrooge now wants to support charitable causes to help those in need.
He also visits the nephew he scorned at the beginning of the book and humbly asks for forgiveness. And finally, he gives Bob Cratchit a raise and better working conditions. He also becomes a friend to Cratchit and the entire Cratchit family. In short, he becomes a better human being:
“He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”