A Christmas Carol - Plot summary

A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens about Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man, who is well-known for his miserly ways.

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. The three spirits which follow, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, show Scrooge how his mean behaviour has affected those around him. At the end of the story he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change and we see him transformed into a generous and kind-hearted human being.

Social and historical context

A Victorian family decorate a Christmas tree

Dickens wrote this story in 1843. At the time there was a tradition for reading ghost stories at Christmas, hence the numerous spirits that Scrooge encounters. The themes of wealth and injustice are clear comments on the inequalities of wealth distribution in Victorian England.