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Reading Fiction: A Christmas Carol (a Description of Scrooge)

In this worksheet, students read a description of the character Scrooge. Then they answer questions about Dickens' (the author's) intentions and how he influences the reader.

'Reading Fiction: A Christmas Carol (a Description of Scrooge)' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Understand Meaning

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Read this extract from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is the very beginning of the book, where the character of Scrooge is described for the first time.

 

 

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Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often ‘came down’ handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

 

 

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Think about how Charles Dickens (the writer) is influencing us to think about Scrooge in a certain way.

If you need to read the extract again as you work through the questions, you can click on the Help button above the questions.

Charles Dickens starts by saying that Scrooge is "tight-fisted". What do you think he means by this?

Scrooge is small.

Scrooge is selfish with his money.

Scrooge is jealous of other people.

Charles Dickens uses lists to describe Scrooge. Which of these words or phrases, from those lists, are about Scrooge's personality, and which are about his appearance (what he looks like).

 PersonalityAppearance
secret
wiry chin
solitary
shrivelled cheek
red eyes
self-contained

Dickens uses a simile when he says that Scrooge is "Hard and sharp as flint". What do you think he wants us to believe about Scrooge?

That Scrooge is strong-willed.

That Scrooge is handsome.

That Scrooge is cruel and unsympathetic.

Charles Dickens writes that: "External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge."  This means that happy or unhappy things in life did not affect him; he was always his miserable old self.

 

Match up the adjectives with their connotation (whether then are 'warm' and happy or 'cold' and unhappy).

 WarmCold
Bitter
Sunny
Icy
Bright

Charles Dickens writes: "He carried his own low temperature always about with him... and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas." 

Why does this make us think that Scrooge is even worse than we already thought?

 

Because Christmas is a time for happiness for everyone.

Because Scrooge won't get any presents.

Because Scrooge will get cold.

Dickens uses the simile "As solitary as an oyster" about Scrooge. What does the word "solitary" mean?

That he was greedy.

That he was alone.

That he was lonely.

When we read the simile: "As solitary as an oyster" about Scrooge, is Charles Dickens trying to make us feel sorry for him?

Yes, because he is all by himself.

No, because he has chosen to be alone.

Overall, Dickens paints us a negative picture of Scrooge. How does each word show us what Scrooge is like?

Column A

Column B

Grasping
Unhappy
Shrivelled
Evil
Bitter
Greedy
Old sinner
Stingy
Tight-fisted
Ugly
  • Question 1

Charles Dickens starts by saying that Scrooge is "tight-fisted". What do you think he means by this?

CORRECT ANSWER
Scrooge is selfish with his money.
EDDIE SAYS
Dickens wants us to think that Scrooge is very selfish and stingy with his money.
  • Question 2

Charles Dickens uses lists to describe Scrooge. Which of these words or phrases, from those lists, are about Scrooge's personality, and which are about his appearance (what he looks like).

CORRECT ANSWER
 PersonalityAppearance
secret
wiry chin
solitary
shrivelled cheek
red eyes
self-contained
  • Question 3

Dickens uses a simile when he says that Scrooge is "Hard and sharp as flint". What do you think he wants us to believe about Scrooge?

CORRECT ANSWER
That Scrooge is cruel and unsympathetic.
EDDIE SAYS
Scrooge must have a strong will to be so determined to be mean, but Dickens wants us to think that he is cruel. The simile he uses has negative connotations.
  • Question 4

Charles Dickens writes that: "External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge."  This means that happy or unhappy things in life did not affect him; he was always his miserable old self.

 

Match up the adjectives with their connotation (whether then are 'warm' and happy or 'cold' and unhappy).

CORRECT ANSWER
 WarmCold
Bitter
Sunny
Icy
Bright
  • Question 5

Charles Dickens writes: "He carried his own low temperature always about with him... and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas." 

Why does this make us think that Scrooge is even worse than we already thought?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Because Christmas is a time for happiness for everyone.
  • Question 6

Dickens uses the simile "As solitary as an oyster" about Scrooge. What does the word "solitary" mean?

CORRECT ANSWER
That he was alone.
EDDIE SAYS
Scrooge may have also been lonely, but the word "solitary" means to be alone.
  • Question 7

When we read the simile: "As solitary as an oyster" about Scrooge, is Charles Dickens trying to make us feel sorry for him?

CORRECT ANSWER
No, because he has chosen to be alone.
EDDIE SAYS
Charles Dickens keeps saying that Scrooge is "cold", so he is obviously alone because of his personality. We are not supposed to feel sorry for him.
  • Question 8

Overall, Dickens paints us a negative picture of Scrooge. How does each word show us what Scrooge is like?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Grasping
Greedy
Shrivelled
Ugly
Bitter
Unhappy
Old sinner
Evil
Tight-fisted
Stingy
---- OR ----

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