A Christmas Carol - Character
How much do you know about character in A Christmas Carol?

A Christmas Carol - Character

This GCSE English Literature quiz challenges you on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens’s novella, A Christmas Carol, focusses on very few characters. Ebenezer Scrooge is the cold-hearted miser whose life is changed by a succession of ghostly visitors. The first of these is his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him that he will be visited on three successive nights by the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Beyond these spirits, the novella is concerned with Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s ill-treated and badly-paid employee, his family, Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, and his wife. Two women, both of whom Scrooge loved as a younger man, Fan, his sister, and Belle, his fiancée, also feature.

Several inhabitants of London play at least a brief role, as do a few characters from Scrooge’s past.

We see these characters through the voice of an omniscient third-person narrator who addresses the reader directly, sometimes drawing attention to his presence. This technique adds to the didactic nature of the text. We are not merely meant to observe this ghost story, but to learn from it too. When Scrooge watches his own past behaviour with regret and begins to wish he had behaved differently in his present life, we are meant to consider whether we have also behaved in an ungenerous manner, or have spoken unkindly to any acquaintance, or refused to do good.

Pay attention to the narratorial description of characters, and especially to those aspects of character which receive particular attention. Fred, for example, is characterised by his frequent and jolly laugh, which is given solemnity by his perceptive goodness of heart. A Christmas Carol is a moral fable, and for this reason characteristics are made to symbolise abstract qualities such as generosity, humility or forgiveness. Which qualities do you identify with each of the characters?

Answer the questions below to see how well you understand the characters in A Christmas Carol.

What does Jacob Marley most regret?
That he made too much money
That he worked too hard
That he did not make the "common welfare" his business
That he could have had time for more business dealings if he had been more focussed
As a spirit, Marley can see all human need, but can no longer offer help. By warning and frightening Scrooge into changing his ways, Marley is able to intervene indirectly on behalf of the many suffering people he can see
"The Founder of the Feast indeed!" cried Mrs Cratchit, reddening. "I wish I had him here. I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it." Why does Mrs Cratchit's face redden as she interrupts her husband's toast to Scrooge?
She is embarrassed that she has interrupted her husband's speech
She is embarrassed that Scrooge might overhear her
She is indignant
She is embarrassed to have lost her temper in front of her children
She does not wish to give Scrooge credit for the family's humble Christmas meal, considering the poor wages which Bob is paid
Scrooge's former employer, Mr Fezziwig, is depicted as generous and jolly. Which of the following phrases implies that he is also youthful?
"'Let's have the shutters up,' cried old Fezziwig, with a sharp clap of his hands"
"A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves. They shone in every part of the dance like moons"
"Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas"
"'Hilli-ho!' cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk, with wonderful agility"
Despite being repeatedly referred to as "old" Mr Fezziwig, he is as nimble and agile as his young employees, especially when dancing
Why does Belle release Scrooge from their engagement?
She knows that he would no longer choose to marry someone as poor as she is
She no longer cares for him
She wishes to make him unhappy
All of the above
She tries to make Scrooge acknowledge that she has been replaced by his new love of money
After Fred's speech praising Christmas for bringing good to humankind, Bob Cratchit applauds "involuntarily". What does this mean?
He applauds Fred mockingly in order to please Scrooge
He applauds Fred without intending to do so
He does not wish to applaud Scrooge's nephew, but feels he must in order to please his employer's nephew
He willingly applauds Fred's speech because he completely agrees with him
Bob Cratchit agrees so completely with Fred that he forgets for a moment that his job depends on pleasing Scrooge
Which of the following is true of Fred's wife?
She is bitter about Scrooge's meanness
She enjoys laughing at her husband
She is a very solemn, dignified woman
She is quiet and patient
Scrooge's niece is shown laughing for much of the time. She encourages her guests to laugh in a good-natured way at her husband and is described as having "the sunniest pair of eyes" and dimples which "melted into one another when she laughed"
Which of the following does NOT describe Scrooge's nephew, Fred?
Easily offended
Fred refuses to take offence at Scrooge's rude rejection of his invitation to Christmas dinner
When the Cratchit family tease Bob, saying that Martha has been unable to come home for the day, why does she quickly run out of hiding to surprise him?
She did not wish to hide in the first place
She is overexcited like a young child
She does not like to disappoint him, even for a moment
She is an impatient character
Martha is grateful to be home, even though she has already had to work on Christmas morning. Her family would have accepted her absence, albeit sadly
Why does Scrooge feel sorry at the vision of his boyhood self?
He remembers how lonely he was
He remembers how he had once amused himself by bringing fictional characters to life in his imagination
He realises he might have given something to the carolling boy who appeared at his door
All of the above
As soon as Scrooge feels sorry for his lonely boyhood self, he begins to feel pity on another, in this case the carolling boy
"Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain." What does this sentence tell us about Scrooge's character?
He always puts business before people
He is prepared to suspend the pursuit of profits, but only for a good cause
He lets emotions cloud his good judgement
He feels exceeding lonely without a business partner
Scrooge is Marley's only mourner and only friend. His business dealings on the day of Marley's funeral hint that Marley is not much mourned and that business is Scrooge's foremost priority
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Characters

Author:  Sheri Smith

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