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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What might Fred write to Scrooge to encourage him to embrace the Christmas spirit?

Quick answer:

Scrooge's nephew and family matriarch try to involve Scrooge in Christmas festivities. In doing so, they reveal Scrooge's past and motivations for his current behaviour. Scrooge's nephew invites him to Christmas dinner, which he has done every year since his mother died. Fred wants to rekindle the family spirit that existed when Scrooge and his sister were children. Fred mentions how sad his wife is that their uncle is so cold and distant at Christmas time, but he can't stay mad at him because of the funny things he says. Fred invites Scrooge again, this time including the rest of the family who will be gathering on Christmas day.

Expert Answers

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Fred is Scrooge's nephew. His mother, who is deceased, was Scrooge's sister. Family is important to Fred, who has a wife and children. They have a sumptuous family Christmas every year and always invite the uncle. Fred wants to include him in the family celebration, apparently for his mother's sake.

Fred acknowledges but can't really hold Scrooge's rudeness against him. Calling his rather unpleasant uncle "a comical old fellow" who is apparently suffering in some way for past misdeeds, Fred feels sorry for him but still tells his wife, "I couldn't be angry with him if I tried."

The story shows Scrooge's change over several days. Fred thinks his words and repeated invitations have had an effect on him, unaware that he is tormented by ghosts and coming to terms with this haunting.

We also learn that Scrooge routinely declines their invitations, and "rails at Christmas," yet Fred keeps inviting him.

Given all this information, it seems like Fred might need to change his approach. Since he knows his uncle dislikes Christmas--or at least says he does--how could Fred appeal to his uncle?

Maybe including other family members in the process would remind Scrooge of the importsnce of family. Perhaps Scrooge would respond better to an invite direct from the children, if we believe he was once close to his own sister. Or he could offer to feature his uncle's favourite dish on the menu.

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