English KS2: A Christmas Carol. 8: An end to the haunting
8: An end to the haunting - with on-screen text
The episode begins in the bedroom of the man who has died. The spirit wishes Scrooge to draw back the bedclothes and see who it is; but Scrooge refuses saying he cannot do it. Instead, Scrooge implores the spirit to show him a scene in which some emotion will be expressed for the man's death.
Accordingly the spirit shows Scrooge a scene in which a young woman awaits the return of her husband. She is very agitated and when he returns it becomes clear that they are in the debt of the man who has died. The debt has been called in, but in the nick of time the couple have been spared by the man's death. Even here the 'only emotion that the Ghost could show Scrooge, caused by the event, was one of pleasure.'
As the story approaches its climax the spirit takes Scrooge to the Cratchits once again. The household is extremely quiet, in contrast to Scrooge's previous visit. It emerges that Mrs Cratchit is making items for a funeral and when Bob returns it is from the church where he has just made arrangements. Bob relates how he bumped into Fred who offered kind words and an assurance that he would help the Cratchits in any way possible. Cratchit breaks down at the talk of his deceased child and he goes upstairs, where Tiny Tim's body is laid out in bed.
Scrooge senses that the time of parting is drawing near. He asks to know what man it was who lay dead in bed. The spirit ushers him away and on their journey Scrooge passes his old office...but still doesn't work out why he cannot see an image of himself within...
Finally the spirit takes Scrooge to a graveyard. Reading the inscription on a gravestone Scrooge at last realises the identity of the man who has died: it is himself. He implores the spirit 'Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?' Scrooge promises that the change in him is complete and as he snatches at the spirit it dwindles down and disappears, becoming his own bedpost.
Ideas for Teaching and Learning:
In this episode the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come does not speak to Scrooge. Discuss with pupils why this might be. What kind of spirit is it compared to the others? What feelings does it bring about in the reader/listener? Scrooge does not guess that the dead body is his own. Pupils can discuss why he might not make this connection even though we as the reader have.
Recreate the scene where the family are relieved at the death of Scrooge so that they are released from their debt to him. The family freeze frame and in turn each pupil in character can add a thought ‘I am so thankful he is dead’ or speech ‘We can now be happy together free from the debt to that man’ or feelings ‘I am not afraid now’.
Investigate the scene of Bob Cratchit’s family. Compare this to the Christmas day scene of celebration. Ask pupils to find all the differences and then think about how this changes the mood towards the end of the story. How does this make the reader/listener feel as the story nears its end.
Explore how Dickens wants us to share the feelings of Scrooge such as regret and a desire for the matters not to end with the death of Tiny Tim.
Ensure pupils understand Scrooge’s request to the spirit to be able to make changes. Do the pupils feel Scrooge has changed through his experiences? Pupils could pose questions to Scrooge about his change of heart about his attitude. At the end of the episode the spirit begins to subside and disappear. Pupils can discuss why they think this happens at this point. How might Scrooge’s attitude bring about the end of the spirit?