"I will live in the past, the present, and the future": Scrooge's redemption proves that destinies may be changed. Discuss.

This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 2)
This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (2 of 2)

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Scrooge's transformation proves that destinies can be changed because he does, in fact, change his. Scrooge does not end up all alone with people stealing from him, businessmen meeting in the street to joke about his money and funeral, or people being glad that he's died because it will mean that they get an extension on their debt payment. Scrooge instead becomes a "second father" to Tiny Tim. More than that,

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.

Instead of continuing to live his life alone, isolated from everyone else in the world, Scrooge learns from Marley that humankind must be his business, and he has put that knowledge into practice. Scrooge becomes generous and loving and compassionate, and this means that he will avoid the terrible fate foretold to him by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Crucial to this story is the idea that individual actions can transform the future, for good or ill. Supernatural events—the multiple appearances of ghosts—break into Scrooge's life, causing him to change his behavior. 

The ghosts can be seen as metaphors for memory, empathy and the imagination. As Scrooge remembers the better self of his past and the people who touched him emotionally through the ghost of Christmas Past, his heart softens, opening him to emotions he had shut down. As he regains the capacity to feel, he views the present through new, more compassionate eyes. With the help of the ghost of Christmas Future, he can imagine the bleak scenario of Tiny Tim's death. He can also imagine his own death being celebrated rather than mourned. 

This new—or old—way of seeing leads Scrooge to take control of changing his destiny, as is illustrated at the end of the novel: Scrooge makes the conscious choice to act generously and benevolently, using his wealth to improve the general good, and more particularly, the circumstances of the Cratchit family. Scrooge's redemption leads to changed destinies: so can anybody's redemption change destinies. This hopeful message is a key to the book's popularity. It is also typical of Dickens' belief that touching individual hearts and motivating people to acts of kindness and compassion can transform society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial