English KS2: A Christmas Carol. 2: Meeting with Marley

2: Meeting with Marley - with on-screen text

Episode synopsis

The ghost who has entered Scrooge’s bed chamber is undoubtedly Jacob Marley. Scrooge asks what the spirit wants with him; ‘a lot’ is the reply. Scrooge tries to maintain that Marley is just a figment of his imagination – perhaps caused by a piece of cheese or an underdone potato. But Marley scares him into submission and now the business of his visit may begin...

Marley explains that it is the duty of every person that their spirit should ‘walk among their fellow men’ and that ‘if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death’. Marley is one such unfortunate: he spent his life amassing his fortune when care for others should have been his business. The dreadful chain he wears he forged, link by link, throughout his life. He can see another chain weighing Scrooge down now.

But Marley has come on a mission of mercy, with an explanation that Scrooge may yet escape a similar fate if only he will mend his ways. Scrooge is to be haunted by three spirits. The first will come this evening when the clock strikes one.

Marley ends by telling Scrooge to mark what has passed between them. Then he floats out through the open window to join countless other spirits in the sky while Scrooge falls exhausted on his bed and is asleep within an instant.

2: Meeting with Marley - script to print / download
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Ideas for Teaching and Learning:

Marley’s ghost is introduced. Ask pupils to draw him by listening to the description in small sections and at the same time tackling any new or difficult vocabulary. Pupils can annotate their drawing with phrases from the story.

Explore the different words ‘ghost’, ‘spectre’, ‘spirit’, ‘phantom’. Choose other new words and see how many more can be found which have similar meaning. Discuss why Dickens likes to choose many words which have the same meaning and how they help the telling of the story.

Ask the children in pairs to listen again to Marley’s arrival. How much information about him can they gather and how does this help us to understand why he is there? Can they link Marley’s character to Scrooge’s character?

This part of the story is particularly scary. Pupils can look for the moments Dickens creates fear in Scrooge. Does he do this well and is it still scary to us in 2010?

Pose to pupils, if this were a scary movie, which moments would they emphasise and how would they direct it to make these moments as effective as they can on the viewer? Use story boxes to retell the key moments with stage directions added. (Sequenced boxes linked together.)

Marley’s Ghost explains the rules of being a spirit forced to roam the world. Ask pupils to make a set of rules for bad spirits based on those in the story. Can they add some rules of their own that are in keeping with Dickens’ style?

Use the image of a chain to record the failures of Marley and Scrooge. Pupils can record each failure on a link to display on the class book board or in the class book area.

Compare how Scrooge feels now compared to how he was feeling at the end of Episode 1. Revisit their descriptions of his attitude. How has he changed?

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More from this series

Episode 1: Marley's ghost
Episode 3: The first of the three spirits
Episode 4: Master Fezziwig