English KS2: A Christmas Carol. 7: The last of the spirits
7: The last of the spirits - with on-screen text
The last of the three spirits causes Scrooge the most fear, but he is now resolved to learn all that he can. The scenes that the ghost subsequently reveals to Scrooge are elusive, with Scrooge struggling to comprehend them. First the spirit takes Scrooge into the financial heart of the City. Four businessmen are mocking someone of their acquaintance who has just died. Immediately after two others refer to the death of 'Old Scratch', but it is clearly a matter of little interest to them - barely more significant than the weather.
Scrooge assumes that he will be shown himself in the future at some point and that this will solve the riddle of who is being referred to. But the next scene is a dark an ominous episode in which the stolen possessions of a man who has died in solitude are brought to a pawnbroker. It becomes clear that these possessions include the bed curtains, linen and even the very shirt in which the man was dressed shortly after his death.
Scrooge mistakes the purpose of the ghost: 'I see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own.' So the spirit takes Scrooge to another place - the very bedroom of the man who has died, where he lies, still uncared for...
Suggest to pupils that in this episode they are detectives. They must gather the clues and understand them so they can present them clearly to Scrooge. Ask them to listen to each of the three scenes where groups of people discuss a man who has died.
Explore each of the conversations using the transcripts of the episode and identify how the characters felt about the man in what they said and what they did not say.
- Financiers’ conversation - going to a funeral and take pleasure in a free meal
- Wealthy men - the death of the man is as interesting as the weather
- Pawnbrokers - to profit from the death of someone unloved and ignored
- When they have collated their clues and agreed their findings they must present them to Scrooge
Encourage prediction at the end of the episode as to who the death is and what the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come will show Scrooge next. Pupils should explain why.