Analysis Pages

Plot in A Christmas Carol

Plot Examples in A Christmas Carol:

Stave One

🔒 2

"He died seven years ago, this very night...."   (Stave One)

Having established Marley's death at the beginning of the tale, Dickens now makes it clear that seven years have passed since his death while also informing us that Marley died on Christmas Eve. The number seven, considered lucky or powerful in many cultures, combined with the anniversary of his death with the holiday, sets the scene for something supernatural to occur.

"MARLEY WAS DEAD: to begin with..."   (Stave One)

Dickens makes it very clear that Marley is dead because the story depends on the readers' ability to suspend their disbelief about the existence of ghosts. Marley's death is also firmly established so Scrooge's attitude towards it can be displayed, thereby giving readers an opportunity to see what kind of man Scrooge is.

"“Remove me!” Scrooge exclaimed, “I cannot bear it!”..."   (Stave Two)

Belle has now married and has a vibrant home filled with love and laughter. This sight is incredibly painful for Scrooge because the Ghost of Christmas Past has forced Scrooge to see the beautiful life that he could have had with Belle, but gave up for money. This pain is only intensified by the mention that Scrooge is “quite alone in the world.”

"She left him; and they parted...."   (Stave Two)

At the time that Scrooge and Belle were together, Scrooge was a very different man than he is now. As Scrooge was overcome with the love of money, he drifted further and further from the values that he held at the beginning of their marriage. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds Scrooge of the extent of what he has lost due to his avarice.

"It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation...."   (Stave Three)

Note that Scrooge’s room has changed from dark and dreary to cheery and festive. The room is now adorned with Christmas decorations, a change that symbolizes Scrooge’s own (hopeful) transformation. Scrooge could certainly afford to decorate the room like this and to host a feast for family and friends, but he chooses to live a lonely life devoid of warmth and joy instead.

"It shrunk, collapsed, and dwindled down into a bedpost..."   (Stave Four)

For the Spirit to disappear before answering Scrooge's question about the future maintains suspense as the narrative nears its conclusion in Stave Five.

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