This GCSE English Literature quiz challenges you on themes in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Themes in a work of literature can be very subtle or might be entirely obvious. They can be straightforward and operate alone, but are more likely to interact with and comment upon other themes in the same text. Authors develop a text’s themes through setting, character, plot and dialogue. Pay close attention to the related ideas and concepts you find and see whether you can follow the development of a theme over the course of a text. When writing specifically about a theme, it is important to consider your final thoughts as you reach the end of the text. Have your ideas changed? If so, can you discover when and where your views on a key theme began to alter?
By engaging with the key themes, readers engage with the author. Usually texts encourage readers to interrogate their own beliefs or ways of looking at the world. A Christmas Carol is upfront about its moral message and does not prompt the reader so much as prod. If a text makes you think hard about an issue or maybe even persuades you to change your mind, then the author has successfully encouraged you to engage with one or more of the text’s themes. You might find that you disagree strongly with other readers, your classmates, or even your teacher. This is entirely natural: it would be odd to share identical views with everyone else. Your response will be deeply personal because you bring your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration of the text.
A Christmas Carol deals with themes of poverty, family, generosity, welfare, gratitude, responsibility, reform and forgiveness. These themes are interrelated. Each of these issues is raised in Scrooge’s nightly travels with the Spirits and each character plays a key role in the development of a theme, and especially on changing Scrooge’s attitudes to fellow human beings. Since this is a didactic text, the narrator often lectures the reader on the same themes. See if you can spot where the narrator directly encourages you to change your own mind.
Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of A Christmas Carol.