A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. To what extent is Scrooge a comic character? What makes him funny?

2. Is Tiny Tim an effective character in this story? Would he be believable outside of the world Dickens has placed him in?

3. Some critics say that the story of Scrooge is too sentimental. Do you agree? Do you think people in Dickens's time viewed the tale differently than people today do?

4. Which of the Christmas ghosts has the greatest effect on Scrooge? Why?

5. The story begins with the narrator assuring us that Scrooge's old partner Marley is dead. Its climax, Scrooge's change of heart, takes place in a graveyard. Why does a story famous for celebrating the joys of Christmas place so much emphasis on death?

6. Characterize Scrooge's speech patterns before and after he decides that he will keep Christmas. How have they changed?

7. The Ghost of Christmas Present, associated with all the bountiful things that make Christmas joyous when we first see him, has a surprise for Scrooge at the end of his visit that seems quite out of character. What is it?

8. Dickens believes Scrooge's solitude is a form of hell. How does Scrooge condemn himself to such a fate before his change of heart?

9. Some readers have found Scrooge's change of heart difficult to accept. Has Dickens prepared us for this change? Do you find it believable?