Here are the summary, questions and answers, and notes for the English chapter “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, which is a part of the syllabus for NBSE class 9 students. However, the materials presented here should be used only for references and nothing more.
SUMMARY: A Christmas Carol is an abridged version of the novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ written by Charles Dickens and published in 1843. The story is about one old man named Ebenezer Scrooge, who would not celebrate Christmas as he thought Christmas was stupid. He was also a miser and didn’t give any donations.
One Christmas Eve, he received an invitation from his nephew for a dinner, but he sent him away saying Christmas was ‘humbug’ or nonsense. But that night, as he was sleeping, he was visited by three ghosts, one after another. First, he was visited by the ghost of Christmas past. The ghost took him to the Christmases in the past and showed him how he let the girl, who used to love him, go on a Christmas Eve. The ghost also showed him how his sister used to love him, which made him feel bad at how he treated her son and his nephew. Then, he was visited by the ghost of a Christmas present and took him to the house of his nephew where he heard his nephew saying that he loved him and felt pity for him. This melted his heart. Finally, the ghost of Christmas future visited him and took him to a room where the corpse of his clerk’s son Tim was lying. He was saddened by the death and asked the ghost why little Tim had to die. Soon after, the ghost took him to a graveyard and showed him a grave with his name on it.
Seeing his own grave, Ebenezer Scrooge started to cry and pleaded with the ghost to not show him anything more and that he wasn’t the man he had become and promised that from that day onward, he would honour Christmas in his heart. The ghost took him back to his bedroom. In the morning, Scrooge became a completely different man. He gave donations, visited his nephew, and raised his clerk’s salary.
Read and Write
1. What kind of man was Ebenezer Scrooge? What were his views on Christmas?
Answer: Ebenezer Scrooge was a selfish person who lacked a generous spirit despite having great wealth. He was insensitive to the feelings of others and believed that through wealth happiness and comforts could be attained. He felt that Christmas was just a farce to ask for a donation in the name of helping the poor and the needy. According to him the poor and the idle had no reason to be merry. He also felt that holidays were a waste of working hours and people should work instead on those days and acquire wealth and money and thereby become rich and prosperous.
2. Scrooge was mean to all who came to him on Christmas Eve. What did he say?
Answer: Scrooge didn’t respond kindly to his nephew’s cheerful greetings and to him Christmas was just humbug. He told his nephew that he had no reason to be happy or cheerful since his salary was small and with that, he had to maintain his family. He didn’t have surplus money to spend on festivity. Scrooge was also rude to the two men who had come for the donation saying it was an excuse to rob the rich man. He sent them away without offering any money. He further cautioned his clerk that while he was taking a day off, he must be early in the office on the following day.
4. What was the change that came over in Scrooge’s nature after the visitations from the three ghosts? How did he make up for his mean behaviour?
Answer: In the story A Christmas Carol, after the visitations of the three ghosts, Scrooge realized that he had been mean and selfish in his conduct. He had valued money over people and relationships and so, he lost all those who were close to him due to his avarice and selfishness.
When he realized that money wasn’t the most important thing in life but people are, he decided to be a different person than he used to be. He gave a generous amount of money as donations to the less fortunate, took interest in others and started to interact with the children. He took part in the celebration of Christmas at his nephew’s house and even raised his clerk’s salary besides promising him to assist his struggling family.
Think and Write
1. How do you think Scrooge changed his life after these experiences with the ghosts?
Answer: He became sympathetic and started to understand the pain and suffering of the needy. He no longer believed Christmas to be humbug but a time to make merry in the midst of people one loves. He realised that happiness, contentment, and joy are derived from doing good and being good to others. He became a changed man, realizing the mistakes he committed in the past being a rude and miser man and grew to be a kindhearted, benevolent person after the experiences with the ghosts. He started to honour Christmas in his heart.
2. Where did you find Scrooge at his worst and where did you find him at his best? Why?
Answer: In the story A Christmas Carol, I think Scrooge was at his worst when he refused to donate something to the poor and the destitute when the two men came to his office for donations.
I find him at his best when he recognised the gentleman in the street and promised him to donate so handsomely that he found it hard to believe.
3. Which of the sights shown by the three ghosts affected Scrooge the most? Why do you think so?
Answer: The sight of the gravestone on which his name was written that the ghost of the future showed him affected Scrooge the most.
I think so because he cried out as soon as he read the name and could not keep himself together like the other times. A lifetime of regret engulfed him at a moment and he lamented that he wasn’t the man he had become. He admitted that he would not be the man he must have been but for this. He promised to honour Christmas in his heart and he kept his promise.
4. If you were a business owner, how would you make sure that you treat your employees better than Scrooge did?
Answer: Unlike Scrooge in the story A Christmas Carol, if I were a business owner, I would have made sure first that the employees were paid fairly. I would try to keep their aspirations and happiness in mind and provide enough holidays. I would also try to give them enough breaks during working hours so that they don’t feel monotonous and come to despise the work. I would have also looked after their medical and other needs as far as possible. I would have made them feel like a family to me.
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