A Christmas Carol: Practise Question


The following extract is taken from stave one of A Christmas Carol. Fred has come to Scrooge’s office to invite him to Christmas dinner. 

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, 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!”

Starting with the extract, explore the importance of minor characters in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Write about:

  • How minor characters are important in the extract
  • How minor characters are important in the novel as a whole

Example Essay

Intro- The minor characters in the novel are important because they help to emphasise the strengths or flaws of the main characters, or develop the reader’s understanding of the historical context behind the novel. (List of minor characters the essay will explore)

Point 1- Fred as Scrooge’s foil. Used to emphasise how mean and horrible Scrooge is in comparison.

Point 2- Charity Workers are used to highlight the issue of poverty and social responsibility that was very bad at the time the novel was written.

Point 3- Fezziwig is used to show that upper class men could be successful business owners but still be kind and happy, unlike Scrooge who is bitter and miserable.

Point 4- Belle shows us one of the reasons Scrooge is the way he is at the start of the novel. Her rejection of him puts emphasis on happiness over money.

Conclusion- Sum up the main importance of each minor character spoken about and how they link to other characters, themes or contextual points.