AO1:Read, understand and respond to texts. Students should be able to: maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response, use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations.
AO2:Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate.
AO3: Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written.
Throughout this booklet, you will find a series of activities designed to help you revise Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. Remember to focus on the assessment objectives and what you are actually being marked on. You need to demonstrate you can meet all three in order to succeed in the exam.
Read the plot of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and summarise what you have learned into four bullet points at the end of each section. READ
A mean-spirited, miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his counting-house on a cold Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers in the anteroom because Scrooge refuses to spend money on heating coals for a fire. Scrooge's nephew, Fred, pays his uncle a visit and invites him to his annual Christmas party. Two portly gentlemen also drop by and ask Scrooge for a contribution to their charity. Scrooge reacts to the holiday visitors with bitterness and venom, spitting out an angry "Bah! Humbug!" in response to his nephew's "Merry Christmas!"
Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold apartment, Scrooge receives a chilling visit from the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley, looking haggard and pale, tells his unfortunate story. As punishment for his greedy and self-serving life, his spirit has been condemned to wander the Earth weighted down with heavy chains. Marley hopes to save Scrooge from sharing the same fate. Marley informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him during each of the next three nights. After the ghost disappears, Scrooge collapses into a deep sleep.
He wakes moments before the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a strange childlike phantom with a brightly glowing head. The spirit escorts Scrooge on a journey into the past to previous Christmases from his earlier years. Invisible to those he watches, Scrooge revisits his childhood school days, his apprenticeship with a jolly merchant named Fezziwig, and his engagement to Belle, a woman who leaves Scrooge because his lust for money overshadows his ability to love another. Scrooge, deeply moved, sheds tears of regret before the phantom returns him to his bed.
The Ghost of Christmas Present, a majestic giant dressed in a green fur robe, takes Scrooge through London to unveil Christmas as it will happen that year. Scrooge watches the large, bustling Cratchit family prepare a miniature feast in its meagre home. He discovers Bob Cratchit's crippled son, Tiny Tim, a courageous boy whose kindness and humility warms Scrooge's heart. The ghost then zips Scrooge to his nephew's to witness the Christmas party. Scrooge finds the jovial gathering delightful and pleads with the spirit to stay until the very end of the festivities. As the day passes, the spirit ages, becoming noticeably older. Toward the end of the day, he shows Scrooge two starved children, Ignorance and Want, living under his coat. He vanishes instantly as Scrooge notices a dark, hooded figure coming toward him.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man's recent death. Scrooge sees businessmen discussing the dead man's riches, some vagabonds trading his personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. Scrooge, anxious to learn the lesson of his latest visitor, begs to know the name of the dead man. After pleading with the ghost, Scrooge finds himself in a churchyard, the spirit pointing to a grave. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to change his insensitive, greedy ways and to honour Christmas with all his heart. Whoosh! He suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed.
Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, Scrooge rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit. He sends a giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchit house and attends Fred's party, to the surprise of the other guests. As the years go by, he holds true to his promise and honours Christmas with all his heart: he treats Tiny Tim as if he were his own child, provides lavish gifts for the poor, and treats his fellow human beings with kindness, generosity, and warmth.
What does the Ghost of Christmas Present reveal to Scrooge at the end of their time together? Scrooge’s death
The death of Tiny Tim
Two children representing Ignorance and Want
Scrooge is shown many things by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come including… vagabonds trying to sell his things.
a poor couple expressing relief at his death.
businessmen discussing his wealth and riches.
his own grave.
What does Scrooge send round to Bob Cratchit’s house? A goose
ACTIVITY THREE: Scrooge’s transformation.
Read the information and complete the tasks
‘Shall we ask what Scrooge would actually be like if we were to follow him beyond the frame of the story? Unquestionably, he would relapse, when the merriment was over — if not while it was still going on — into moroseness, vindictiveness, suspicion. He would, that is to say, reveal himself as the victim of a manic-depressive cycle, and a very uncomfortable person.’
Edmund Wilson (The Two Scrooges)
TASK: What do you think literary critic, Edmund Wilson, is saying here? What does he believe would really happen to Scrooge beyond the end of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and why? What exactly about Scrooge’s transformation do you think Wilson is criticising?