Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is arguably the most important Christmas story out there, short of the actual story of Christ’s birth.
The story’s main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, is a complex character deserving of redemption. But why was Scrooge so angry and mean in the first place?
That answer can be found in Scrooge’s trip with the three ghosts, brought by the ghost of Jacob Marley in an attempt to save his old business partner’s soul.
The first Christmas Ghost, the ghost of Christmas Past, shows Scrooge the seeds of his anger. Dickens reveals that Scrooge suffers from anger brought by his relationship with his father. Unfortunately, Scrooge’s mother died during childbirth, causing Scrooge’s dad to become depressed and angry towards Scrooge.
Readers have to feel for Scrooge at this point. With no mother and a depressed father, there was basically no way Scrooge could avoid becoming an angry, bitter man. Because his father made him live on the streets for a while, he became greedy. Young Scrooge is forced to fight for everything he can get. But when Scrooge becomes rich and powerful, he loses his soul, becoming someone who just wants more, no matter the cost.
The ghost of Christmas Present shows that despite all of Scrooge’s flaws, Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, still cares about him.
But he’s really the only one who cares for him. As the ghost of Christmas Future shows, Scrooge’s death brings joy to several people.
This pushes Scrooge to change his ways, in an effort to avoid the possible future he saw. It seems to work. In Dickens’ final narration, he says that:
“Many laughed to see this alteration in him, but he let them laugh and little heeded them, for he knew that no good thing in this world ever happened, at which some did not have their fill of laughter. His own heart laughed and that was quite enough for him. And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
Overall, the story of Scrooge represents a lot of concepts and thoughts that are still important today. Scrooge’s greed exists today in many people. The great thing about A Christmas Carol is that it shows redemption, telling the audience that at any point can a sinner become a saint. And that’s a great Christmas message.