A Christmas Carol | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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Course Hero. "A Christmas Carol Study Guide." October 27, 2016. Accessed September 21, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Christmas-Carol/.


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A Christmas Carol | Quotes


Every idiot who goes about with "Merry Christmas" on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.

Ebenezer Scrooge, Stave 1

This quote shows Ebenezer Scrooge's miserly, miserable attitude toward Christmas at the opening of the story; he is obsessed with his money and has no time for festivities, family, or joy.


Though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!

Fred, Stave 1

In direct contrast to Ebenezer Scrooge's stingy attitude, his nephew Fred praises Christmas for the happiness it brings; while Scrooge only appreciates activities that make him richer, Fred acknowledges other joys in life—including Christmas.


No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused!

Jacob Marley, Stave 1

Jacob Marley's ominous statement references the theme of time—Ebenezer Scrooge is old and has little time to make amends for his greedy behavior. No matter how badly he may feel about the way he treated people, only actions can make up for it.


The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.

Ebenezer Scrooge, Stave 2

Seeing Fezziwig's joyful Christmas celebration reminds Ebenezer Scrooge that spreading happiness doesn't have to cost a fortune. It's possible to partake in holiday cheer cheaply—it's more important to act generously and show appreciation than to spend a fortune.


What! ... Would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give?

Ghost of Christmas Past, Stave 2

The Ghost of Christmas Past chastises Ebenezer Scrooge for attempting to snuff out his light—and wisdom—because the memories are too painful. The spirit urges Scrooge to work through the pain and learn the lessons he is trying to teach.


God bless us, every one!

Tiny Tim, Stave 2

Despite Tiny Tim's disability and his impoverished life, he remains optimistic, kindhearted, and loving. Tiny Tim has more reason to be bitter and stingy than Ebenezer Scrooge, yet he wishes wealth, blessings, and happiness to everyone.


There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.

Narrator, Stave 3

This statement serves as a further reminder that some of the best things in life are free. Laughter, for example, is free to share, and good humor is free to give. Ebenezer Scrooge realizes this when he witnesses Fred's holiday party and sees how much fun he would have had.


I am sorry for [Scrooge]. I couldn't be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers by his ill whims? Himself always.

Fred, Stave 3

Fred realizes far before Ebenezer Scrooge does that being stingy and cruel causes more suffering to the miser than to those around him. Indeed, in the beginning of the novella, Scrooge is lonely, cold, poorly fed, and stingy with himself. He is clearly unhappy in his life while those around him, like Fred and Bob Cratchit, are still able to find happiness, love, and joy.


I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.

Ebenezer Scrooge, Stave 4

While pleading with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Ebenezer Scrooge promises to consider the past, present, and future when making decisions. He knows he cannot dwell in the past or focus solely on the future. To live a happy life, he must embrace all three together.


He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.

Narrator, Stave 5

This description, a sharp contrast to Ebenezer Scrooge's character at the opening of the story, shows how drastically his character has changed as a result of the spirits' visits. Through change, he has been redeemed, moving from one extreme to the other.

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