In the final stave Scrooge is relieved to find himself alive in his bedroom on Christmas morning. He has time to make amends for his prior acts. As he frantically dresses he looks around the room and remembers the events of the previous night. He laughs for the first time in many years and realizes he does not know what day or time it is. As the church bells toll he opens the window and yells down to a boy on the street.
When asked the boy tells him it is Christmas Day. He realizes the spirits had transacted their business all in one night despite what Marley had told him about when to expect the ghosts’ arrival. This is a strange discrepancy, the significance of which has never been explained to my satisfaction.
He sends the boy off to get the prize turkey in order to send it anonymously to Bob Cratchit. Scrooge is delighted by the boy. This seems to be the culmination of a theme starting with the caroler Scrooge mistreated on Christmas Eve, Scrooge’s child self, Tiny Tim, and the children duo Ignorance and Want. As Scrooge waits at the door he sees the knocker says he will love it forever. The poulterer arrives, Scrooge pays for the turkey and sends him in a cab to Bob’s house. Scrooge also pays the boy.
Scrooge then returns to his room, shaves happily and dresses himself in his best clothes. He walks through the streets addressing everyone happily. He meets the two men he had rebuffed on Christmas Eve seeking money for the poor. He apologizes and tells them he will give them money. He then goes to church and walks the streets.
In the afternoon Scrooge arrives at his nephew’s house. Fred welcomes him happily. This scene has always been very powerful for me. I always react emotionally when Fred welcomes Scrooge to his party. It is the Biblical scene where the father welcomes home the prodigal son. It is the scene where God welcomes us home after our struggles on Earth.
The next day Bob Cratchit arrives late to work. “What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?” Scrooge asks him pretending to be angry. Bob confesses that he was “making rather merry” the day before. I suppose this means he drank too much and overslept or was hung over. But Scrooge tells him he will raise his salary and help his family and that they will discuss his affairs over a “smoking bowl of Christmas Bishop” (whatever that is).
Dickens tells us that Scrooge was as good as his word and Tiny Tim did not die. He also mentions that some people laughed at Scrooge for changing. In other words they tried to shame him for changing. This certainly fits the pattern of shame-based people. They fear change themselves and become jealous when they see other people change so they try to stop other people from changing by shaming them. Scrooge, of course, was unaffected because through the intercession of Marley and the three ghosts he had surpassed this shame-based circle. He was indeed a new man.
Were the three ghosts real? That is, were they separate entities intervening in his life for his benefit or were they parts of his subconscious mind fed up with the status quo and affecting their own healing? The fact that Marley had no one intervene on his own behalf suggests the latter. This is certainly a topic that can be explored in greater depth.
Anyway, I think I am done with “A Christmas Carol” for now.
God bless us. Everyone.
- 170 years of Ebenezer Scrooge (macombdaily.com)
- A Christmas Carol (venitism.blogspot.com)
- Charles Dickens and the Story of ‘A Christmas Carol’ (trickygirl.wordpress.com)
- The ghost of Christmas present? (glynismillward189.wordpress.com)