The three spirits who visit Scrooge during the novel are an important part of the plot development. Without these spirits, Scrooge is unable to change his ways and move forward on his path to redemption. You may get a question based on all three spirits, or you might get a question on one. Either way, we’ve got you covered with six key quotes to get you started with revision.
‘It was a strange figure- like a child: yet not so like a child’ (Stave Two, Ghost of Christmas Past)
Possible Interpretation: Dickens uses a simile to depict the first ghost as innocent and pure, adjectives we associate with a child. This helps both Scrooge and the reader to trust the ghost. The adjective ‘strange’ references the supernatural, something Dickens’ readers would be interested in due to the clash of old beliefs of spirituality and the rise of scientific discovery. The statement after the semi-colon suggests the ghost is also wise like an adult, which again would make Scrooge trust him.
‘Would you so soon put out the light I give?’ (Stave Two, Ghost of Christmas Past)
Possible Interpretation: The rhetorical question here is directed at Scrooge towards the end of stave two. The ghost has been successful in stirring Scrooge’s emotions by showing him various memories from his past. We discover reasons behind Scrooge’s nasty ways, and as a character he begins to realise the error of his past ways and is unable to bear it. Dickens’ reference to ‘light’ suggests honesty and truth: Scrooge is unable to handle the pain the final memories are causing him. Specifically the loss of his one true love, Belle.
‘A jolly giant, glorious to see’ (Stave Three, Ghost of Christmas Present)
Possible Interpretation: The second ghost is described completely differently to the first. Dickens’ use of the adjective ‘glorious’ creates a positive and cheery atmosphere. The adjective ‘jolly’ shows the ghost’s friendliness, showing Scrooge he has nothing to fear. Dickens makes this ghost a giant, which is very important, for it’s only in the present that Scrooge can change his ways, therefore this ghost will ultimately have the biggest influence on Scrooge in the novel. We meet this ghost in stave three, the middle of the novel, which also suggests this is Scrooge’s turning point.
‘I see a vacant seat. The child will die.’ (Stave Three, Ghost of Christmas Present)
Possible Interpretation: Dickens uses two short statements from the ghost when Scrooge asks whether Tiny Tim will survive. These harsh statements will have likely hit home. We know it’s only in the present that Scrooge can make changes, and the ghost is telling Scrooge if he doesn’t help his employee, Tiny Tim will die. The ghost doesn’t use Tiny Tim’s name, but instead the noun ‘child’. This then encourages Scrooge not only to look after Tiny Tim, but as many children as he can help whilst still alive. This is perhaps why he donates so much money to charity at the end of the novel.
‘The phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached.’ (Stave Four, Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come)
Possible Interpretation: The final ghost is arguably the most intimidating. Dickens uses power of three with strong adverbs, to heighten the sense of fear that Scrooge will have over his very uncertain future. The adverbs used create a sense of mystery and fear, which can clearly be seen in Scrooge’s reaction. The noun ‘phantom’ in comparison to the ‘jolly giant’ he speaks with previously, implies that it is inhuman, even an image that only appears in Scrooge’s mind.
‘Kind hand trembled.’ (Stave Four, Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come)
Possible Interpretation: Although the third ghost is the most frightening out of the three, the fact that its ‘kind hand trembled’, suggests the third ghost pities Scrooge. The adjective ‘kind’ and verb ‘trembled’ also strengthen this idea. The ghosts have been sent by Marley to help Scrooge, not terrify him, therefore the ghost showing some form of pity would have comforted Scrooge in some way.