illustration of Ebenezer Scrooge in silhouette walking toward a Christmas tree and followed by the three ghosts

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

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Stave 5 Summary

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Scrooge wakes up in his bed and becomes aware that he is finally back in the present. After a difficult evening of facing his past cruelties, his present actions, and his future prospects, Scrooge is filled with gratitude at a chance to make things right.

He looks around the room with remnants of tears on his face, realizing that none of his curtains have been torn down and the spirits are gone. He believes wholeheartedly that he can change the terrible future that was shown to him during the night.

In a state of bliss, Scrooge grabs his clothing and starts frantically putting them on, looking like a madman in the process. He moves into his sitting room and considers the spot where Jacob Marley appeared to him and the window where he first saw the spirits of the dead. He cannot stop laughing from the joy he feels in his heart.

Scrooge wonders how long he’s been away from the real world and hears the church bells call to him from the street. He runs to the window, breathes in the cold winter air, and asks a boy outside what day it is. The boy, somewhat confused by the question, tells Scrooge it’s Christmas Day. Scrooge is elated that he hasn’t missed it. He sends the boy to buy the prize turkey that’s been hanging in the window of the poultry shop. He decides he will give it to the Cratchit family as a gift.

When the boy returns with the large bird, Scrooge sends it off in a cab to the Cratchit home and pays the boy for his troubles. Scrooge laughs so much, he begins to cry. Once the bird is taken care of, Scrooge gets ready for the day. He shaves, puts on his best clothing, and heads out into the streets. He plans to dine with his nephew, Fred, and his family.

With a smile beaming from ear to ear, Scrooge acknowledges everyone he passes. While walking, he sees a man that came into his shop the previous day asking for donations for the poor. Scrooge remembers treating him poorly and wants to make amends. He grabs the man by the hands and begs for forgiveness, asking him to come by the shop again in the future. The man is taken aback, thinking Scrooge is playing some kind of trick, but when Scrooge offers him a large sum of money, he realizes Scrooge is serious. The man promises to return to his shop.

After Scrooge reaches Fred’s home, it takes him some time before he is able to muster the courage to knock. He enters the home, surprising the family, and ends up having a glorious holiday with them. Christmas Day has been a great success.

The next day, Scrooge goes to the office early in the morning in hopes of witnessing Bob Cratchit coming in late. Almost twenty minutes late, Bob rushes through the door and sits at his desk. Scrooge pretends to be angry at him, asking why he has bothered to show up at all. He calls Bob into his office and admonishes him for being late. However, in the same mean tone he growls about his tardiness, Scrooge tells Bob he is going to pay him more money. He tells Bob he will come over for dinner that afternoon, and they will discuss how Scrooge can help his struggling family thrive. At first, Bob doesn’t believe him, but Scrooge follows through on every promise he makes.

On Christmas Day, Scrooge changes his life. Now, he is kind to all, takes care of Bob and Tiny Tim, and spreads joy and laughter everywhere he goes. He vows to be compassionate and gracious for the remainder of his life, and to never again be mean-spirited or hurtful to others. As the stave ends, the narrator relates that all people can learn from Scrooge and recounts Tiny Tim’s iconic words:

God bless Us, Every One!

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Stave 4 Summary