Analysing the extract

The question

How does Dickens present the redeemed character of Scrooge?

For the first part of the question you should examine the language of the extract closely. Look at how Scrooge is presented here.

Look again at the extract below and examine the highlighted points. Think about what Dickens is showing the reader about the reformed Scrooge.

The extract

"I don't know what to do!" (1) cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and (2) making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. (3) "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. (4) A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! (5) Whoop! Hallo!"

He had (6) frisked into the sitting-room, and was now standing there: perfectly winded.

"There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!" cried Scrooge, starting off again, and going round the fireplace.

"There's the door, by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered! There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present, sat! (7) There's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits! It's all right, it's all true, it all happened. (8) Ha ha ha!"

Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, (9) a most illustrious laugh. (10) The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!

From Stave V, A Christmas Carol

  1. (1) 'cried Scrooge' - the verb 'cried' is lively and shows that Scrooge is excited.
  2. (2) 'making a perfect Laocoön of himself' - Dickens is referring to a famous statue of a man in agony. He means that Scrooge is struggling with his stockings.
  3. (3) "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel" - this series of clichéd similes shows how light-hearted Scrooge is.
  4. (4) "A merry Christmas to everybody!" - Scrooge had earlier responded to his nephew's wishes for a 'merry Christmas' with his typical 'Bah!' and 'Humbug!' He is a changed man now and is happily shouting his own Christmas wishes to 'everybody'.
  5. (5) "Whoop! Hallo!" - these exclamations of joy are childlike and give us the impression of Scrooge skipping around his room.
  6. (6) 'Frisked' - the verb 'frisked' suggests that he is moving lightly and with gaiety.
  7. (7) "There's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits!" - Scrooge speaks his thoughts aloud and remembers with joy the ghosts that he has been visited by, showing how they have changed him.
  8. (8) "Ha ha ha!" - his speech is reduced to laughter, showing how cheerful he has become.
  9. (9) 'a most illustrious laugh' - the adjective 'illustrious' means well-known. It is as if Scrooge has already laughed so much that the sound has become part of his usual utterances.
  10. (10) 'The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!' - this metaphor shows that there will be many more laughs to come.