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Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens summary

Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens summary

Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

(Abridged Version) Chapter 1 Summary

 

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Chapter 1: SCROOGE OF ‘SCROOGE AND MARLEY’

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1

Ebenezer Scrooge owns a business called ‘Scrooge and Marley’, but Marley has been dead for seven years. Dickens gives a description of Scrooge’s character. What do we learn about Scrooge here?

Scrooge is stingy – he never gives money to anyone. He is very secretive, and has an unpleasant appearance. He has no friends, and nobody ever asks him for anything, because everyone knows he is horrible, and some are scared of him.

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2

How does Scrooge feel about the fact that no-one speaks to him?

He is pleased that no-one bothers him.

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2

At what time of year is the story set?

The story is set at Christmas time. At this moment, it is the day before Christmas. It is wintery and dark, and very cold. Furthermore, Scrooge keeps the office very cold with a meagre fire, so his clerk has to wear a scarf inside.

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3

Scrooge’s nephew comes in to welcome his uncle a merry Christmas. Scrooge replies, “Bah! Humbug!”, which is his normal reaction to something he thinks is stupid. He asks his nephew how he can be so happy when he is so poor; his nephew jokingly asks how he can be so unhappy when he is so rich. What is it that Scrooge dislikes about Christmas?

He thinks that the festival is foolish, particularly because people buy things that they cannot afford. This means that they are older but not richer. It is clear that Scrooge places great importance on having lots of money.

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4

Scrooge’s nephew has a very different opinion of Christmas. What is it?

The nephew places far less emphasis on the monetary aspects of Christmas, and more on the human element. He describes it as a time to love, forgive and be kind to one another. It is a time when people treat each other as friends rather than strangers. Although Christmas has never made him rich, he believes it has done him good.

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4

Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit, states that he too loves Christmas, and Scrooge threatens to sack him if he talks again. Scrooge’s nephew asks Scrooge to join him and his wife for Christmas dinner, but Scrooge refuses. What is Scrooge’s opinion of love?

Scrooge says that love is the only thing more foolish than Christmas.

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5

Scrooge tells his nephew to go away. His nephew remains very friendly, saying that he will always invite him to join them at Christmas. What does Dickens mean when he says, “Though the clerk was cold, his heart was warmer than Scrooge’s.”

Dickens means that although the clerk is physically cold – a result of Scrooge’s meanness in only making a very small fire – he is kinder and happier than Scrooge. To have a ‘warm heart’ is to be a kind and loving person.

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5

Why can’t Scrooge believe that the clerk will have a Happy Christmas?

The clerk is very poor, because Scrooge pays him very little and he has a wife and children to care for. He believes that because the clerk has little money, he can’t be happy.

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