Which Ghost Has The Greatest Impact On Scrooge?

Which Ghost Has The Most Impact on Scrooge?

TS: GCSE English Student. Y11.

A young student called Terry came to me for help one day, with his essay on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, set by his teacher, a colleague of mine, so I offered him some extra teaching, to help him understand the question. He came up with this effort in two short sessions with me. He did it at home and then showed me his efforts. He was struggling at the time, with some quite specific special needs of his own, which were impacting his studies immensely. 


Each ghost in a Christmas Carol take Scrooge to a different time in his life. The ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to key points in his past, which brings mixed emotions such as pain and misery, but also happiness and excitement. The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to different places on Christmas Day, showing the poorest people being happy on this day. The Ghost of Christmas yet to come shows Scrooge his death by use of silence and gesture which is why this ghost has the most impact on Scrooge, because he sees what will happen to him if he does not change his ways.

The end of Stave 3 sets the tone for the next spirit with the introduction of “Want” and “Ignorance,” the two children hidden under the robes of the ghost of Christmas present’s gown. They are malnourished and in scraggy clothing. They are very similar in appearance to the ghost of Christmas Yet to come, with a bony scraggy look about them. Scrooge fears this spirit and everything about him. In the book Dickens does not even call this ghost a spirit at the start but a “phantom.” Phantoms have a very negative connotations with them. Dickens chose the word “phantom” to emphasize that this ghost should be feared and treated with respect, otherwise bad things will happen. Scrooge fears for his future increases as the ghost shows him his future because Scrooge pleads with the spirit to tell him if he “may change these shadows.” At this point you know Scrooge is a changed man because he has seen what has yet to come in his later life and does not want it to happen so he so he will do everything in his power to change it.

Scrooge begs and pleads with the spirit to talk and tell him that he has a chance to change his future but the spirit merely points, making Scrooge fear him even more. Scrooge asks the spirit “am I the man who lay upon the bed?” The phantom simply points at a gravestone in complete silence. Dickens uses silence to add suspense and creepiness to the spirit to make the audience as well as Scrooge, scared of it. The spirit shows scrooge a small and neglected tombstone with Scrooge’s name on it. The graveyard is described as being “choked up with too much burying “and it also says only weeds and grass grow there that has over run the place. In a sense, this is “a worthy place” for Scrooge to be buried and this is the phantom showing Scrooge just how unloved he is.

The spirit tips Scrooge over the edge by only showing him happiness from the result of his death. He starts by showing people he had done regular business with. He sees them joking about some poor man’s death saying things like they “don’t mind going if a lunch is provided.” This later turns out to be Scrooge who they were talking about, meaning that they don’t even miss making money out of Scrooge. The spirit does not speak; he just points at things, leaving Scrooge in a constant state of confusion because he does not answer any of Scrooge’s questions. This has a great impact on Scrooge, making him want to try to be happier, because he has nothing to really lose through it and can only gain.

The ghost of Christmas yet to come has the most impact on Scrooge because it makes him fear what has yet to come and makes him want to change in any way possible. This spirit also pushes him over the edge making him realise he has to change his ways to not end up like Marley; forgotten and alone in Purgatory. Therefore, Scrooge is mostly changed by the ghost of Christmas yet to come.