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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Student Question

In A Christmas Carol, how did Scrooge know Fezziwig?

Quick answer:

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge knew Fezziwig in the past through being Fezziwig's employee and apprentice.

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In A Christmas Carol, the first ghost shows Scrooge a vision of the business where he first worked as an apprentice. His employer was Mr. Fezziwig, a large, comfortable, benevolent old gentleman in a Welsh wig. The scene in Fezziwig's office on Christmas Eve is intended to provide the greatest possible contrast with Scrooge's own conduct on the same occasion many years later. While Scrooge grudgingly allowed Bob Cratchit to take Christmas Day as a holiday, grumbling about the money it would cost him to do so, Fezziwig joyfully embraces the Christmas season, telling his clerks that there must be no more work on Christmas Eve, and he swiftly prepares the way for a party.

The ghost observes that Mr. Fezziwig did not spend very much money on his ball. He hired a fiddler and provided mince pies and beer, and he invited a great many people to enjoy themselves at his office. To do this once a year was a small matter. Scrooge, however, replies that Fezziwig had the power to make his employees happy or unhappy and chose the former. This is an important turning point in the story, as the reminder of Fezziwig's kindly treatment motivates Scrooge to make the case against his own mean and miserable conduct without the ghost having to do so.

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