A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol Theme of The Home
It's not often thought of in these terms, but A Christmas Carol is all about being a Peeping Tom. Both the readers and the protagonist spend an unusually large amount of time simply watching others go about their business without realizing that they are being observed. Creepy, much? It is striking that while the ghostly invasion of Scrooge's home is felt by him to be a distinct violation, no one questions the ethics of surveillance as he and the ghosts eavesdrop on conversations and peer into the private celebrations of others. We guess Dickens had a thing for double standards.
Questions About The Home
- Why is it okay to do the kind of invisible observing that Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present do? As far as Scrooge knows, he is actually watching real people do real things that he is not meant to see—why does no one have a problem with this in the story?
- Do the homes we see fit their residents? Can you think of an example where a home is exactly the right match for its inhabitants and one where it isn't?
- Why is Scrooge's house so uncomfortable? Why doesn't he spend his money on luxury or food or nice things? How would the story change if he did?
Chew on This
The weirdest thing about this book is that Scrooge grows into an ethical person by doing a totally unethical thing—spying and snooping.
The many transitions and transformations that Scrooge's house undergoes make it not really a home at all, but more of a no-man's-land.