Bob Cratchit

  • Humble
  • Hardworking
  • Family man
Drawing of Bob Cratchit and Scrooge

Bob Cratchit is Scrooge's clerk and works in unpleasant conditions without complaint. He obeys Scrooge's rules and is timid about asking to go home to his family early on Christmas Eve.

When the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to visit the Cratchits on Christmas Day, he sees Bob Cratchit carrying his sickly son Tiny Tim, and later raising a toast to Scrooge for providing the feast.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows the Cratchits in a future where Tiny Tim has died and here we see how sensitive Bob Cratchit is. His love for his son is shown through his grief.

In the end, when Scrooge changes his ways for the better, Bob Cratchit is delighted. He welcomes Scrooge's new-found generosity and friendship.

How is Cratchit like this?EvidenceAnalysis
ObedientBob takes orders from his bad-tempered boss, Ebenezer Scrooge without complaining.[he] tried to warm himself at the candleHis efforts to warm himself at the candle are pitiful. He would prefer to do this than challenge Scrooge.
GenerousHe proposes a toast to Scrooge even on Christmas Day."I'll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!"Scrooge is too miserly to offer his clerk a decent wage, but Cratchit is generous enough to be grateful to his boss.
SensitiveHe cries openly when his son Tiny Tim is dead."My little, little child!" cried Bob. "My little child!"The repetition of 'little' adds to the sad effect of Bob's cry. We feel sympathy for him at this point.
FearfulHe is afraid of Scrooge's reaction when he arrives late to work after Christmas Day."It's only once a year, sir," pleaded Bob, appearing from the Tank.Bob 'pleaded' which shows he is worried about being punished by Scrooge.

Social and historical context

Working life for a Victorian clerk was generally repetitive and dull. They typically spent whole days in the counting-houses working out calculations for the benefits of other men. Dickens features more than 104 clerks in his collected works. Most of his clerks are presented as downtrodden characters, almost always wearing black.

Analysing the evidence

quote
... at Bob Cratchit's elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle. These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed: "A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!"The Cratchits celebrate Christmas
Question

How does Dickens present Bob Cratchit and his home?

'...at Bob Cratchit's elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle. These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed: "A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!"'

  • 'family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle' - we are shown the Cratchit family's poverty highlighted in their pathetic 'display of glass'. Yet there is a pride there too, as if nothing more is needed.
  • 'as well as golden goblets' - although the Cratchits have very little in terms of material possessions, what they do have is valued. The meagre glass collection is as good to them as gold.
  • 'Bob served it out with beaming looks' - we see how happy Bob is to be surrounded by his family. The warmth that is 'beaming' from his face is reflected back at him. Compare this to the description of Scrooge in Stave I.