Family is also an important theme in the novel. Dickens wanted to show how important family is to happiness, which is why there is more than one family dynamic explored in the novel. He also showcases the family dynamic from various social classes, mirroring the mid 1800s. Below are a few key quotes linked to family to help you with your revision.
‘a little girl… came darting in… addressed him as her “dear, dear brother”‘ (Stave Two, Fan and Scrooge)
Possible Interpretation: Dickens writes about Scrooge’s childhood to show his readers that he did have a family bond with his younger sister, Fan. This shows a kinder side to Scrooge, as she addresses him with the repeated adjective ‘dear’, showing that he wasn’t always bitter and horrible. We learn that Scrooge was often isolated from his family during the holidays, which can explain why he is the way he is as an adult. We see a clear bond between Scrooge and Fan, and later learn that Fan died shortly after having Fred. Through showing this family dynamic, it gives the reader a clear insight into Scrooge’s adult characteristics.
‘the mother and daughter [laughing] heartily’ (Stave Two, adult Belle)
Possible Interpretation: The depiction of an adult Belle, Scrooge’s ex fiance, as a wife and mother shows a different family dynamic in the novel. Through the adverb ‘heartily’, it shows a loving family bond which is full of happiness, further emphasising Scrooge’s own loneliness. Seeing Belle happy causes Scrooge a deep regret, which is clear in his ‘broken’ response in asking the ghost to take him away. Dickens shows a strong family bond to prove that love is greater than gaining money and wealth, especially if you have no one to share it with.
‘the Cratchit family drew round the hearth’ (Stave Three, The Cratchit Family)
Possible Interpretation: This quote emphasises the closeness of the Cratchit Family. They don’t need an elaborate feast and lots of presents to have a good Christmas. For them, it’s all about spending time with each other as a family. This shows the positive side of family and Christmas, one that Scrooge had tried to forget following the death of his sister.
‘Scrooge’s nephew laughed… Scrooge’s niece, by marriage, laughed as heartily as he.’ (Stave Three, Fred and his wife)
Possible Interpretation: Dickens uses yet another happy family to show his readers the importance of keeping loved ones close to you and not letting foolish things get in the way. For Scrooge, it’s the greed and money that gets in the way of his happiness. He loses Belle and ends up having a broken relationship with his nephew despite his attempts to win him over at the start of the novel.
‘Scrooge was true to his word [and] to Tiny Tim… he was a second father.’ (Stave Five, Scrooge)
Possible Interpretation: Scrooge’s pledge to Tiny Tim at the end of the novel shows his willingness to change his ways and also try to mend his familial relationships. Having given up the chance to have his own family, and his nephew now being an adult, Scrooge wanting to look after Tiny Tim finally shows the importance of family. Dickens uses the end of the novel to show that even the greediest men and women can be part of a family, even if it doesn’t end up being their own. By allowing himself to be vulnerable and part of a family, it improves the preconception others had of him.