A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Discussion Questions 1. Compare the depiction of Scrooge to recent depictions of Wall Street bankers. How are they similar? How are they different? 2. How do the physical attributes of the spirits reflect their symbolic purpose? 3. Upon its publication, A Christmas Carol was criticized by some as being overly sentimental. Do you agree with this critique? Why or why not? 4. A foil is a character used to provide a contrast to a major character and highlight that character’s main attributes. Explain how Bob Cratchit, Mr. Fezziwig, and Fred serve as foils for Scrooge. 5. Discuss how the notions of optimism and pessimism are reflected in the novella. Do you think that Dickens himself was an optimist? Why or why not? 6. A Christmas Carol is consistently popular in readers theater and radio productions. Why is hearing it read aloud so entertaining? What might be gained from hearing it versus reading it, and what might be lost? 7. Contrast “cold scenes,” in which the setting is bleak and frigid, with “warm scenes,” in which the setting is cheerful and cozy. How does the weather serve the author’s purpose? 8. Young Scrooge points out that the world is unfair in that “There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty, and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth.” What does he mean? Do you agree with him? Is this still true today? 9. Scrooge ultimately dims the light on the head of the Ghost of Christmas Past—something he wanted to do from the moment he first saw the spirit. What does the light represent? What does Scrooge desire instead? 10. Children abound in the novella, including Tiny Tim, Belle’s boisterous children, and the young boy Scrooge employs to get a turkey for the Cratchits. How would you describe Dickens’s feelings about children, from a familial standpoint and from a societal one?