A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens Menu Introduction Background Discussion Starters
A Christmas Carol: Introduction • a familiar, timeless character • ghosts and apparitions • time travel This classic holiday tale has it all.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction On a cold and foggy Christmas Eve sometime in the middle 1800s, Ebenezer Scrooge sits working in his office in London.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction His clerk toils—seemingly endlessly—with hardly any fire to keep him warm. Scrooge does not care.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction Two gentlemen come by to ask for donations for the poor. Scrooge refuses.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction Scrooge’s cheerful nephew Fred stops in to invite his uncle to Christmas dinner. Scrooge grumpily declines.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction Mr. Scrooge does not know that when he gets home that night, he will have some different visitors— visitors he may not be able to ignore so easily.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction One by one, four ghosts appear to Scrooge. They’ve come to try to convince him to become a nicer person.
A Christmas Carol: Introduction The ghosts will show Scrooge the past he is forgetting, the present he is missing, and the future he is shaping. But will their revelations get through to Scrooge? Will he change his ways?
A Christmas Carol: Background In Victorian England, poor people usually did not get much help. Even young children, sick people, and the elderly went without assistance from the government or charities.
A Christmas Carol: Background If you were a poor, out-of-work Londoner during this time, these were your options: • beg on the street • go to a workhouse • be thrown into prison
A Christmas Carol: Background As a young man, Charles Dickens witnessed a decline in the traditional celebration of Christmas in England. Because of the Industrial Revolution, many employers wouldn’t even give their employees Christmas Day off.
A Christmas Carol: Background A Christmas Carol, along with several other Christmas books by Dickens, helped revive the holiday customs. Some people even started calling Dickens “The Man Who Discovered Christmas.”
A Christmas Carol: Background Scrooge’s story brought about other changes too. For example, because of the book, • a home for disabled children was started • a factory owner began closing his factory every Christmas and giving turkeys to of all his employees
A Christmas Carol: Background Charles Dickens had experienced poverty as a child, and he was very concerned about the poor people of England. He raised money to help people in need by reading A Christmas Carol at charity events.
A Christmas Carol: Discussion Starters Discuss (1) Dickens believed that human beings were largely responsible for society’s ills, such as poverty, hunger, and suffering. • How much responsibility does each individual have to help others in need? • How can one person help make the world a better place?
A Christmas Carol: Discussion Starters Discuss (2) • Do you believe that any given person can significantly change the way that he or she sees the world and treats others? • What does it take to make people change their ways? • If you were shown your past, present, and future in one night, how do you think you would change?