Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Carol - Characters and Setting

A Christmas Carol takes place in London, England, in roughly 1843. It's December, and it's very cold.

The Characters:

Ebenezer Scrooge: A money-lender and business man.
...a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone,... a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.
Fred: Scrooge's nephew, son of his beloved deceased sister.

Two charitable gentlemen: seeking donations for the poor.

Jacob Marley: Scrooge's deceased business partner.
Marley, in his pig-tail, usual waistcoat, tights, and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pig-tail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made... of cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. His body was transparent; so that Scrooge... could see the two buttons on his coat behind. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.
The Ghost of Christmas Past: First of the three spirits about whom Marley alerted Scrooge.
...not so like a child as like an old man.... Its hair... was white as if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom was on the skin.... It wore a tunic of the purest white; and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt, the sheen of which was beautiful. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand, and ... had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. But the strangest thing about it was, that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light... and a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm.
Fanny: Scrooge's deceased sister, mother to Fred.
"Always a delicate creature, whom a breath might have withered," said the Ghost. "But she had a large heart."
Old Fezziwig: A kindly merchant. Scrooge was apprenticed to him as a young man. old gentleman in a Welsh wig, sitting behind such a high desk, that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling.
Dick Wilkins: Scrooge's fellow apprentice, working for Mr. Fezziwig. A good friend.

Belle: Scrooge's one-time fiancée. Later, mother of a large and cheerful family.

The Ghost of Christmas Present: Second of the three spirits about whom Marley alerted Scrooge.
In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty's horn... It was clothed in one simple deep green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare; and on its head it wor no other covering than a hooly wreath set here and there with shining icicles. Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demenour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but now sword was in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust.
Bob Cratchit: Scrooge's clerk.

Mrs. Cratchit: Mr. Cratchit's wife.
...dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap, and make a goodly show for sixpence...
Martha Cratchit: The Cratchits' oldest daughter, apprentice to a millinar

Belinda Cratchit: The Cratchits' second daughter

Peter Cratchit: The Cratchits' oldest son

Two more young Cratchits: a boy and a girl (not named in the story)

Tiny Tim Cratchit: The Cratchit's youngest son, crippled and ill.
They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being waterproof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time...
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: Last of the three spirits about whom Marley alerted Scrooge.
A solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming like a mist along the ground, towards him. ...the very air through which this Spirit moved seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.
Old Joe, Mrs. Dilber (the laundress), The Charwoman, and the Undertaker's man: gleefully dividing Scrooge's possessions

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