What year does the Ghost of Christmas Past take Scrooge to when he goes back to his old boarding school?

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While we do not get references to exact dates in the novella, it is possible to make some guesses. Let's begin by assuming the text is set in 1843, which is the year it was published (and seems more than plausible given the Ghost of Christmas Present's assertion that he...

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While we do not get references to exact dates in the novella, it is possible to make some guesses. Let's begin by assuming the text is set in 1843, which is the year it was published (and seems more than plausible given the Ghost of Christmas Present's assertion that he has more than eighteen hundred brothers, as well as the depiction of early Victorian-era London.

Scholars have made a connection between the character of Ebenezer Scrooge and a moneylender named Ralph Nickleby, a man who was born in 1786. If Scrooge shares Nickleby's birthday, then this would make the protagonist fifty-seven years of age in the book's present. In the 1844 play, A Christmas Carol; or, The Past, Present, and Future, by Charles Webb, which is based on the novella, Scrooge is fifty-seven (source: The Annotated Christmas Carol, published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004). While fifty-seven might not sound very old to us now, it would have been old for the time, when an average middle-class man would have lived to, on average, forty-five; Scrooge, due to his lack of physical labor and hardship, could have been expected to enjoy several more years than this. So, if Scrooge is fifty-seven in 1843, and we can hypothesize that he was around seven or eight when the Ghost of Christmas Past first shows him his childhood self, then the year would have been 1793 or 1794 when we first see Scrooge as a child. (I wouldn't guess that he is much younger than this, because of the types of books he had already read at the time.)

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