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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1. All three of Dickens's first Christmas books (A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth) have characters whose faith in humanity is restored through the intervention of spirits. A Christmas Carol is usually considered the best of the three. Compare it to one of these other stories.

2. Dickens says that as he wrote A Christmas Carol he was so elated that in his excitement he would go out into the streets of nighttime London and walk for hours. How does the story reflect his enthusiasm? Does it have a positive effect on the story, which is a combination of satire and morality tale, or would a more detached attitude have been better?

3. The allegorical figures that the Ghost of Christmas Present shows to Scrooge, Ignorance and Want, have the forms of children. Their impact on Scrooge, who still has Tiny Tim very much on his mind, is enormous. Analyze the part children play in Dickens's concern about nineteenth-century England. What in his own experience kept children uppermost in his mind?

4. Describe the narrator's role in this story. What kind of relationship with the reader does this storyteller attempt? Is he successful?

5. Discuss the themes of redemption and resurrection as they appear in A Christmas Carol.

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