Study Guide

A Christmas Carol Transformation

By Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol is bursting at the seams with all sorts of supernatural transformations, and readers are constantly invited to feast their eyes on the way an object, a person, or even a whole scene melts into another, often totally without commentary from the characters who are living it. All this is fitting for a work which is in itself a story of two transformations—a young lonely boy's gradual evolution into an embittered old man, and the Herculean efforts necessary to reconnect that old man back to the emotionally available person he once used to be.

Questions About Transformation

  1. What's the coolest supernatural transformation in the novella? Why? What's the least interesting?
  2. What's so awesome about his transformation is that Scrooge regains his ability to feel emotions appropriately. Compare, for example, the strangely delayed and cut off fear he experiences at the sight of the transformed doorknocker with his feelings when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come disappears. How does the novel treat these scenes of fear differently? How are they similar?
  3. Why does the transformation of Scrooge take place over one night? Why not stretch it out? What would be different if this story happened over weeks? Months? Years?

Chew on This

Because we see that Scrooge was a sensitive and loving boy when he was a child, this is not a true transformation story so much as a story of a man reclaiming qualities he has already had all along.

Okay, okay. More than any memory, it is the horrifyingly chaotic and unpredictably shifting supernatural assault that bugs Scrooge.

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