Short summary - A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas - Charles Dickens

British literature summaries -

Short summary - A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas
Charles Dickens


Luminous spirits show the hunks his past, where he became greedy, the present, where no one loves him, and the future, where he will die alone, if he does not change. The miser is changing and becoming generous.

Stanza I. The Spirit of Marley

The old gloomy miser Ebenzar Scrooge has long loved no one and nothing but his own money.

He did not understand the joy that the approaching Christmas and Christmas time brings to others, and squeamishly declined the invitation of his good nephew to celebrate Christmas with him and his family. Scrooge could not understand why people have fun all day and do not work, if this does not bring them benefits, and refused to donate money to benefactors to help needy children.

Hard and sharp, like flint, from which no steel had ever knocked out a single noble spark, he was hidden, restrained and locked in himself, like an oyster in his shell.

On the evening of Christmas Eve, Scrooge very reluctantly released his clerk from work, closed the office and went home. There, the spirit of his late companion Jacob Marley, who died on Christmas Eve seven years ago, suddenly appeared to him.

Dook Marley told Scrooge that after his death he was punished for not trying to do good on earth and help people during his lifetime.

He did not want the former companion to suffer the same fate, so at his request Scrooge will be visited by three spirits, which, he hoped, would help him change. The spirits will appear one after another for three nights in the first hour of the midnight. After these words, the spirit of Marley said goodbye to Scrooge and disappeared.

Stanza II. First spirit

At the first hour of the night, the holy spirit of past years appeared. He led Scrooge with him to the past. Scrooge saw the town where he was born and raised, where he knew everything from a young age. Then he saw himself in childhood and adolescence, when he, full of enthusiasm, enthusiasm and hope, was ready to share his joy with people close to him. Seeing himself like this, Scrooge, not noticing it himself, relented, his heart thawed.

After that, Scrooge saw himself growing up when greed had already begun to take root in him. Noticing this, his longtime lover decided to part with him. She realized that, with his cold prudence, he did not need the feelings of a poor girl whom he loved when he himself was poor. She married another and arranged her family happiness. Scrooge could not look at himself from the side and began to beg the spirit to lead him away from visions of the past. In the end, the spirit disappeared, and Scrooge fell asleep.

Stanza III. Second spirit

On the second day at exactly one o’clock in the morning, the spirit of the present Christmas time appeared to Scrooge. He led Scrooge around his town with streets decorated for Christmas, joyful smart people, store shelves bursting with Christmas treats. Abundance and joy reigned everywhere about the upcoming holiday.

Then the spirit took Scrooge to the home of Bob Cratchit, the clerk working in his office.

The big, poor family of Bob reigned in fun and glee. Only once did universal joy break - when Bob offered a toast to Scrooge's health. His wife very reluctantly joined the toast, saying that only for Christmas she drinks for the health of this ugly and insensitive miser.

It was the first toast of the whole evening that family members did not drink with all their heart. And then Scrooge felt sorry for the poor and sick son of Bob, the baby Tiny-Tim, to whom the spirit predicted death if "the future does not make any changes to it."

Further, Scrooge and the spirit traveled to different places and watched the miners, workers of the lighthouse, who forgot their quarrels and tribulations for a while, celebrate Christmas. Their faces were cheerful, everyone wished each other a merry Christmas. Finally, the spirit took Scrooge to the house of his nephew, where fun games and fun had already begun.

How beautifully and appropriately arranged everything in the world! Sorrows and illnesses are contagious, but nothing infects so much as laughter and gaiety.

The only nephew in the whole city had no malice for his sullen and rude uncle and, in spite of everything, from the bottom of his heart wished him a merry Christmas, hoping that he would one day grow up and recover. Scrooge himself, invisible to everyone, was happy to watch the fun and fun in his nephew's house and even wanted to participate in them, but the spirit did not give him time for this, returned Scrooge to his house and disappeared.

Stanza IV. Last spirit

Finally, the third spirit appeared. He did not utter a word, but Scrooge realized that this was the spirit of future Christmas time. He came to show Scrooge his possible future. In the future, Scrooge, to his surprise, did not see himself on the stock exchange or in other usual places, but he constantly heard from passers-by talking about the death of some old evil miser, whom no one loved; many openly rejoiced at his death. Three thieves robbed the house of the deceased and sold things to the buyer in the slums, arguing that "he probably deliberately brave us all in life so that we could cash in on him after his death."

Then Scrooge saw the deceased himself, but could not see his face. He asked the spirit to give him the name of the deceased, realizing that this same fate could await him after death. It turned out that everyone hated the dead hunks - he himself. For all his life he has not brought good to anyone, and if everyone does not remember him with an unkind word, they treat his death with poorly concealed relief.

The ways of human lives also determine their end ‹...› But if the ways change, then the end will also change.

After Scrooge saw the grave of baby Tiny Tim, and Bob, who, crying, carried a crutch to the grave.

Stanza V. Epilogue

The third spirit disappeared, and Scrooge was again in his bed. He finally decided to change for the better. He sincerely rejoiced in the upcoming Christmas, sent the most expensive Christmas goose to poor Bob, and donated a huge amount to the benefactors he had recently driven away. After that, Scrooge went to celebrate Christmas with his nephew, who joyfully received him.

The next day, when Bob came to work, Scrooge raised his salary. Since then, Scrooge has become the kindest and most generous person in the city and has earned universal love and respect. For the baby Tiny-Tim, the son of Bob, he became the "second father." The boy did not die of the disease, since Scrooge changed and the future of himself and his loved ones also changed for the better.