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.