Study Guide

A Christmas Carol Family

By Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol presents family life as the most normal and healthiest experience that all humans should aspire to. How Victorian! The inspirational characters are members of large families or family groupings—Bob Cratchit, Fezziwig, the miner, and Scrooge's ex-fiancée. But even the family-less folks strive to connect in family-like groupings. In the end, it is not enough that Scrooge simply be rehabilitated as a person—he also has to be re-incorporated into family life as Fred's uncle and father numero dos to Tiny Tim.

Questions About Family

  1. Should the Cratchits be psyched to have Scrooge suddenly become a "second father" to Tiny Tim? Does Tiny Tim really need another father, or does this have some weird overtones of Scrooge buying his way into this family?
  2. How are the families we see different from one another? How are they the same?
  3. Do we get the sense that if Scrooge's own family had been more intact he would have been a less damaged person?
  4. The only other people we don't see with families are the businessmen discussing Scrooge's death and the thieves pawning his stuff. How are these groups similar? How are they different?

Chew on This

You know what? The ghosts are kind of a family unit, too.

The most crucial moment of Scrooge's transformation is when he tears up at the thought that his ex-fiancée's children could also have been his own. We mean, he cries for crying out loud. Pardon the pun.

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