A Christmas Carol Summary
This Charles Dickens classic follows Ebenezer Scrooge, the archetypal miser who exploits people around him in order to save every cent he can. It starts with Scrooge in his office, seated by a small fire with his overworked clerk, Bob Cratchit. A guy knocks on the door, requesting money for the needy.
Scrooge scoffs, stating that he already contributes to prisons and shelters, and dismisses the guy. Then Scrooge’s nephew Fred bursts through the door, joyfully inviting Scrooge to Christmas dinner. Scrooge’s most famous phrase is “Bah. Humbug,” which he uses to dismiss his nephew. Then he admits that Bob presumably anticipates a day off for Christmas, which Bob readily accepts before quickly departing.
Scrooge initially detects anything odd at home when his door knocker takes on the appearance of his deceased companion, Jacob Marley. Later, the deceased guy reappears in his chamber, chained. Scrooge first refused to believe the spirit of Jacob Marley had visited in his bedroom, but Jacob had come to deliver a message. Jacob informs Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits who will attempt to save him from the same fate as Jacob.
The Ghost of Christmas Past was the first visitor. He gave Scrooge flashbacks of a time in his youth when he was alone on Christmas Eve, rejected by his father. Then he saw a nice employer for whom he worked who hosted a large Christmas celebration for his workers. Following that, Scrooge recalled a moment when he explained to the girl he loved why they couldn’t be together. The recollections grew so distressing that Scrooge pleaded with the Spirit to let them go.
Following that was the Ghost of Christmas Present. They paid a visit to Bob Cratchit’s home, Scrooge’s clerk. Scrooge saw them sharing a modest lunch and spotted Tiny Tim walking with a crutch. Despite their poverty, they seemed to be content. They even expressed gratitude to Scrooge, albeit Mrs. Cratchit did so reluctantly for what they had. Scrooge then saw his nephew Fred, who was joyfully throwing a party.
They engaged in games, one of which included Scrooge as the target of Fred’s thoughts. Fred’s guests made light of the fact that Fred continued to extend compassion to Scrooge without ever getting anything in return. Scrooge saw two tiny children under the robes of this enormous Spirit before he left, whom the Ghost identified as Want and Ignorance. Scrooge saw that they need assistance in obtaining resources.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come then came, but said nothing. Scrooge overheard several guys discussing a deceased gentleman whose burial will be attended by no one. Then he saw several individuals selling the deceased man’s belongings, including his dead body’s clothing, and laughing about it. He then came upon the dead guy himself, lying under a sheet, but he refrained from seeing who it was.
Scrooge wanted to see someone who had been affected by the man’s demise. The Ghost showed him several individuals who seemed pleased that they would no longer be owed money by the deceased guy. Then he saw Bob Cratchit’s family suffering once again. Finally, the Spirit guided Scrooge to the cemetery, where he came face to face with his gravestone. He became aware that he was the dead guy concealed under the sheet.
Scrooge rejoices in his bedroom that he is still alive. He learns it is Christmas Day and places an order for a turkey to be sent to Bob Cratchit’s home. When Scrooge runs across the guy who had requested for a contribution the previous day, he whispers to him an amount he would want to give, pleasantly surprising the man. Scrooge then proceeds to his nephew’s home, where he joins in on the food and festivities.
At work the next day, Scrooge pretends to be furious with Bob Cratchit for his tardiness before giving him a raise. He pledges to assist his family and becomes Tiny Tim’s second father. The residents often marvel at the transformation that occurred in Ebenezer Scrooge overnight, transforming him into such a kind guy.
A Christmas Carol Summary – Stave 1 (Chapter 1)
Charles Dickens’s classic tale begins with an explanation of how it is true that Marley is dead. For many years, Jacob Marley was Ebeneezer Scrooge’s business partner. He had passed away precisely seven years ago. While Scrooge is at work, his nephew calls to invite him to Christmas dinner, an invitation Scrooge constantly refuses.
Despite Scrooge’s frequent response of “Bah, humbug” to anything good, most notably Christmas, his nephew stays cheery. Following the nephew’s departure, a guy appears and requests money to provide food for the needy for the Christmas feast. Scrooge once again refuses to donate anything, claiming that he already supports the jail, the poor home, and other services that assist the needy.
Later, a man approached the counting house’s door to sing a Christmas carol, but Scrooge frightened him away. Scrooge scolded his employee before he left for the day, for asking a day’s salary for not working on Christmas Day the next day. Scrooge felt cheated, but the clerk bolted away like a schoolboy playing games on his way home.
Scrooge returned to his large, dark, empty house, but upon reaching the door knocker, he saw that it had been changed into Marley’s face. It turned back instantly, but it had shocked Scrooge, and he felt uneasy as he entered the home.
He ascended to his bedroom, inspecting everything to ensure it was in order, before eating a bowl of gruel by the tiny fire and changing into his night clothing. He sat in a chair and noticed the bell in the room’s corner begin to ring, followed by the rest of the house’s bells, which continued for at least a minute before abruptly ceasing. He then heard shackles dragged across the floor and footsteps ascending the stairwell.
The door swung open, revealing a spirit like Jacob Marley. Scrooge first refused to believe the ghost was real, but Jacob spoke to him and caused his jaw to drop, and Scrooge believed. He inquired as to why Jacob was wearing so many shackles and why he was haunting him in this manner. Jacob said that these were his punishments for his behavior throughout his life.
He explained to Scrooge that he had come to offer him a chance to mend his ways. Jacob informed Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits over the next three nights. Jacob then escorted Scrooge to the window, where he observed phantoms filling the air and dissipating into mist. Scrooge then retired to bed and fell asleep immediately.
A Christmas Carol Summary – Stave 2 (Chapter 2)
Scrooge awakened to discover that, despite the fact that he had gone to bed after two a.m., it was now twelve. It appeared as though no time had passed, but in fact, time had sped up. He was aware that the first apparition was planned for one, and sat up impatiently for the bell to toll. When it did, his guest materialized exactly on time, appearing youthful and actually shining from a light emanating from the crown of its head.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past,” the ghost declared. Scrooge inquired as to what that meant, and the ghost answered that it alluded to Scrooge’s history, before requesting that Scrooge up and follow. Scrooge followed the ghost to the window, which he was frightened to walk out of. Scrooge was told by the ghost that touching the spirit’s heart would enable him to go securely.
They traveled mysteriously to the home of Ebenezer Scrooge. He was overwhelmed by recollections, which caused him to cry. He saw his former school and recalled being left alone there. They soon emerged in front of a huge mansion where Scrooge had resided throughout his boarding school years.
Scrooge found himself alone on Christmas Eve reading Robinson Crusoe, and the characters appeared to come to life in front of him. It reminded Scrooge of the young kid who had come caroling to his house and how he may have been able to share such a book with him.
Once again, the scene was magically turned into a later Christmas at the same boarding house when Scrooge’s sister hurried in to inform him that their father had agreed to allow him to return home. Then time skipped back to Scrooge’s apprenticeship at the warehouse.
Fezziwig, his employer, urged him to go early because it was Christmas. The Fezziwigs then threw a fantastic party for all their friends and family, including included Scrooge, who loved drinking and dancing. The ghost pointed out that it didn’t cost the Fezziwigs very much to bring happiness to the individuals they knew. It reminded Scrooge of his own clerk, and he wished he could speak with him at that moment.
They then cut to a chat he was having with a young girl. Clearly, he had shown emotions for this girl while they were both young and impoverished, but when his aspirations and riches rose, the girl saw that she was no longer sufficient for him, even if she remained impoverished and without a dowry.
As a result, she terminated their contract with one another. Scrooge was so disturbed by this recollection that he requested the ghost to stop, but the spirit insisted on viewing one more scenario. This time, Scrooge was gazing at the same young girl who had become a mother and was now surrounded by several children in her home. Her husband returned home bringing Christmas presents, which elicited joy and celebration among the children.
He told his wife later that night, after they had gone to bed, how he had gotten a glimpse of Scrooge earlier that day through his shop window, alone. Scrooge couldn’t bear hearing another word and pleaded with the ghost to put an end to it. The ghost placed a hat on its head, obliterating most of the light emanating from it, and when Scrooge pushed down the cap to extinguish the light, he found himself back in his bedroom and fell asleep peacefully.
A Christmas Carol Summary – Stave 3 (Chapter 3)
Scrooge awakened once again to the sound of the clock striking one, and he awaited the coming of the next ghost with bated breath. When no one arrived, he became concerned. He spotted a light beaming from the adjacent room and rose to his feet, placing his hand on the door, at which point a voice instructed him to enter. He entered the room to see that it was really his, but it had been overrun with plants and food. The Ghost of Christmas Present was introduced by a giant seated on the sofa carrying a bright torch.
Scrooge then placed his hand on the giant’s green cloak, and the two emerged in the streets, where they observed a large number of people cooking Christmas dinners. The Ghost showered magical merriment on everyone who walked by, making them happy as they went. Scrooge and the Spirit paid a visit to Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s clerk.
They observed as his family eagerly prepared a lunch in their worn-down clothing, including Tiny Tim, who walked with a crutch due to his crippling condition. The family delighted at the delicious goose and the accompanying potatoes and applesauce. Mrs. Cratchit brought out a tiny dessert following dinner, despite the fact that no one in the family mentioned the modest portions of food they had consumed.
After supper, as they sat drinking and toasting chestnuts on the fire, Bob announced “God bless us,” to which the family, Tiny Tim included, answered, “God bless us all.” Scrooge then enquired about Tiny Tim’s health, to which the Spirit replied that he would not live long if things continued as they were.
The Spirit then pointed out that Scrooge believed the surplus population ought to be eradicated from the planet anyway, which infuriated Scrooge for having uttered such a horrifying notion. Bob then raised a glass to Scrooge, and Mrs. Cratchit got enraged that they should celebrate such an evil guy. The family grew solemn at the mention of Scrooge, since it was apparent that none of them regarded him favorably. The conversation then shifted to Peter’s possible employment, which was reason for celebration, and Tiny Tim sung a song.
They then continued their voyage, flying over several isolated communities spending Christmas underground and out to sea, until they arrived at Scrooge’s nephew’s house. Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, was joking with his wife and friends about how Scrooge had dismissed Christmas as a humbug and refused to join them for dinner.
The others felt Scrooge was impolite, but Fred found it hilarious because Scrooge was only hurting himself. Fred stated that he would continue to be polite and ask his uncle to dinner in the hope that his kindness would eventually persuade Scrooge to change, which made his guests even more amused.
The visitors then engaged in a variety of activities, including a twenty-question game in which Fred imagined an animal that wandered the streets and sometimes grumbled, to which one of the ladies accurately identified as Uncle Scrooge. They then toasted Scrooge before he was carried away by the Spirit.
As the Spirit continued to spread joy around the world, Scrooge became aware of the Spirit’s apparent aging. The Spirit confessed that its existence will come to an end at 12 a.m. Scrooge suddenly became aware of something beneath the Spirit’s robe. It was a boy and a girl, both with shriveled hands and distorted faces. The Spirit declared that the male represents Ignorance and the girl represents Desire.
He cautioned Scrooge to use caution around them. Scrooge inquired as to their resources, and the Spirit responded with Scrooge’s own words, stating that, of course, there were jails and workhouses. Then twelve o’clock struck, and the Ghost vanished.
A Christmas Carol Summary – Stave 4 (Chapter 4)
Scrooge inquired as to whether the third phantom was the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come to which the Spirit referred. Scrooge’s knees began to tremble even more when he realized this ghost would not communicate. The Ghost escorted him to a gathering of guys, and Scrooge overheard their talk about a recently deceased person.
They were making light of the fact that no one else would attend the funeral unless lunch was provided. Then Scrooge overheard a similar exchange between two other businesspeople he knew about someone who had recently died. Scrooge was perplexed as to why the Spirit would want him to listen to these petty discussions, as he had no idea to whom they were speaking.
They left these talks and arrived in a shady section of town in a pawn shop. Three people entered the shop simultaneously, all carrying bundles of merchandise. Each of them was aware of the other’s presence. The owner examined the first man’s package and discovered many little goods, including a pencil case and brooch, which he priced.
He next examined the first woman’s collection of silverware, kitchenware, and footwear. The third lady entered with bed curtains, linens, and a dress shirt, which she claimed she removed off the deceased guy. They all chuckled at how this man deserved to be robbed in this manner due to the fact that he never shared anything during his lifetime. Scrooge despised these people’s behavior and felt sympathy for the deceased.
Scrooge abruptly found himself in a dark room with an object hidden beneath a sheet on the bed. The Phantom indicated, but Scrooge was unable to shift the sheet. He pleaded with the Ghost to allow him to escape. Then Scrooge enquired of the Spirit whether anybody had expressed emotion over the person’s death. They showed up to the home of a couple who were anxious about an unpaid bill.
Her husband stated that the guy to whom they owed money had died, and they worried who would assume responsibility for the loan. Whoever it was could not have been more callous than the deceased man, so they appeared to relax a little and appear joyful. Scrooge was somewhat aback by this attitude and requested the Spirit if he might see someone exhibit greater sympathy toward the dead man.
He reappeared in Bob Cratchit’s house, where the family seemed to be in distress. Bob returned home late and exhausted, distraught over Tiny Tim. Scrooge longed to see his future self even more. The Spirit escorted him to his office, but Scrooge’s furniture was missing.
The Ghost then indicated a churchyard. They went near a gravestone, and Scrooge inquired whether the events he seen were certain to occur or if they might still be averted, but the Ghost refused to reply. Scrooge approached the tombstone and noticed his own name. He became aware that he was the dead guy concealed beneath the sheet. As the Phantom slumped and Scrooge spotted a bedpost, he vowed the Ghost he would mend his ways.
A Christmas Carol Summary – Stave 5 (Chapter 5)
Scrooge returns to his bedroom and pledges to remember all he has seen and to make atonement. He is relieved to find that his bed curtains have remained in place, and it appears as though he still has time to amend his ways. He is aware that his face is damp from the tears he shed during this fight with the Spirit. He glances about the room, unsure what to do with himself, and chuckles.
Then, realizing he has lost track of time, he opens the window and calls out to a little child, “What day is it?” The boy answers that it is the day after Christmas. Scrooge is astounded that the Spirits visited him all in one night. He then instructs the youngster to dash to the poultry shop and request that they bring him the prize fowl displayed in the window. Scrooge decides to mail it to Bob Cratchit and makes a note of the address.
The kid immediately returns with the poulterer, and Scrooge determines that the bird is too enormous to transport via cab. Scrooge grins as he pays for the turkey, the cab, and the lad; he then sits in a chair and laughs uncontrollably.
Scrooge tries to shave but finds it difficult due to his trembling hands. He dons proper attire and ventures out onto the streets. Some joyful individuals greet him with a good morning, and Scrooge reciprocates. He rushes into the man who came to his office the previous day seeking a contribution and whispers the amount he wishes to donate.
The man is taken aback and pledges to pay him a visit shortly. Scrooge then visits his nephew’s residence and requests permission to enter. Fred and his wife are taken aback by his appearance. Scrooge watched as his vision’s guests came and ate, drank, and played foolish games.
Scrooge comes at the workplace early the following morning, hoping Bob Cratchit will be late, which he is. Scrooge appeared to be upset when Bob raced to his stool eighteen minutes late. He inquired as to what had caused his tardiness and stated that he would no longer tolerate it.
Then he informed Bob that he would have to increase his wage. Bob trembled in response to Scrooge’s “Merry Christmas!” Scrooge promised to assist Bob, and he kept his word. Scrooge became a second father to Tiny Tim and a transformed man as a result. The town’s residents laughed at Ebenezer Scrooge’s miraculous transformation into a decent guy who always kept Christmas well.