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Analyse the Role of Key Characters and Their Development in 'A Christmas Carol'

In this worksheet, students will be able to analyse key characters in 'A Christmas Carol'.

'Analyse the Role of Key Characters and Their Development in 'A Christmas Carol'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   Eduqas, OCR, Pearson Edexcel, AQA

Curriculum topic:   19th Century Prose, 19th Century Novel, The 19th Century Novel

Curriculum subtopic:   A Christmas Carol

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Have you ever read a book and decided that you like or dislike the characters within it?  

 

What made you feel like this?  Is it the language they use, the way they behave or just a feeling?

 

 

Authors use characters in novels to engage with their readers, they provide a great way to get an emotional response from a reader.  

 

The most successful authors manage to create an understanding between the character and the reader so that you feel that you know the fictional character.  As a reader, we often relate to characters that share life experience with us or who are honest and we can see their true personality.

 

In 'Christmas Carol' the role of the characters is pivotal.  The differing characters and their circumstances mean there is something for all of us to relate to.  You may find that there were characters that you didn't warm to at the start but by the end, you were rooting for them?  Think about why you feel this way, how had Dickens made you have these reactions to a fictional character?

 

In this worksheet, you will be able to identify and analyse key characters in 'A Christmas Carol'.

 

You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples.  These quotations are for reference only.

 

Which 4 adjectives does Dickens use to describe Scrooge's character at the start of the novel?

Column A

Column B

Annoying
Yes
Squeezing
No
Grasping
Yes
Wheezing
Yes
Scraping
No
Clutching
Yes

At the start of the novella, Dickens describes Scrooge as being "as solitary as an oyster."

 

What technique has Dickens used to describe Scrooge's initial character?

 

 

Metaphor

Personification

Simile

Alliteration

Image result for fred a christmas carol analysis

 

How does Dickens show Fred as a warm character in A Christmas Carol?

 

Read the extract below and underline examples of how Fred is a warm and cheerful character. 

 

 

\"A Merry Christmas uncle! God save you! cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge\'s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.\"

Christmas tree.jpg

The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to five different Christmas' of Scrooge's life. 

 

Which scene proves too unbearable for Scrooge and makes him finally place the ghost's cap over it to end the memories? 

Fezziwig's party

Scrooge as a young schoolboy

Belle and her family

Scrooge as an older schoolboy

Belle breaking off the engagement

How much do you know about some of the minor characters? 

 

Match the descriptions to the correct character.

 

 

Column A

Column B

"He rubbed his hands; adjusted his capacious waist...
Fezziwig
"He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair y...
Fan
"A little girl, much younger than the boy came dar...
Belle

Image result for ignorance and want

 

At the very end of stave three, two wolf-like children emerge from the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Present.  They are pretty frightening in appearance.  

 

 Why do you think Dickens included these two characters?

 

Check all answers that are correct.

 

They represent the lack of education of the rich about the poor

Their hideous appearance would shock Victorian society

They are children, which suggests that they need to be looked after by society to change the situation

Image result for victorian christmas

 

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge three remote places where people are still celebrating Christmas and enjoying Christmas spirit.

 

Can you remember where the ghost takes him?

To a farm in the country

To men at sea

To lighthouse keepers

To a lonely island

To an abandoned graveyard

To miners

Look at the extract below from staves three. It shows a poor but happy family enjoying Christmas Day together.

 

Stave three:

"All the Cratchit family drew round the hearth in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, and at Bob's elbow stood the family display of glasses: two tumblers, and a custard cup without a handle. These held the hot stuff from the jig, 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 crackled noisily. Then Bob proposed: "A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!" Which all the family re-echoed." 

 

What does the section in bold suggest about the Cratchit family?

They are a close and loving family

They are jealous of families who are wealthy

They are united together

They feel that life has been unfair to them

Although they are poor they are happy together

Starting with this extract, explain how Dickens shows the moral change in Scrooge throughout the novel:

 

"Yes! And the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the time before him was his own, to make amends in!

 

"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" Scrooge repeated as he scrambled out of bed. "The Spirits of all three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas time be praised for this!" I say it on my knees, old Jacob; on my knees!" 

 

He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears.

 

"They are not torn down" cried Scrooge, folding one of his bed curtains in his arms, "they are not torn down, rings and all. They are here: I am here: the shadows of the things that would have been may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will!"

 

His hands were busy with his garments all this time: turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance.

 

"I know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo there! Whoop! Hallo!""

Finally, let's test what you have learned so far!

 

Check the true or false boxes for the following questions: 

  • Question 1

Which 4 adjectives does Dickens use to describe Scrooge's character at the start of the novel?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Annoying
No
Squeezing
Yes
Grasping
Yes
Wheezing
No
Scraping
Yes
Clutching
Yes
EDDIE SAYS
Dickens goes to town with his description of Scrooge at the start of the novel - he really wants to highlight how mean he is, but he was also paid by the word, hence the long descriptions!
  • Question 2

At the start of the novella, Dickens describes Scrooge as being "as solitary as an oyster."

 

What technique has Dickens used to describe Scrooge's initial character?

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Simile
EDDIE SAYS
Well done if you chose simile! Dickens has used a simile to describe Scrooge as a closed and isolated character at the start of the novel. This is also foreshadowing, as an oyster, even though closed tightly shut, often has a precious pearl inside. Dickens is suggesting that Scrooge might open up and reveal the goodness inside him.
  • Question 3

Image result for fred a christmas carol analysis

 

How does Dickens show Fred as a warm character in A Christmas Carol?

 

Read the extract below and underline examples of how Fred is a warm and cheerful character. 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"A Merry Christmas uncle! God save you! cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again."
EDDIE SAYS
Fred is presented as a complete contrast to Scrooge, even though they are related. He represents Christmas spirit and is used by Dickens as an example of how people should behave towards others - especially at Christmas. His description includes very positive warm features and is very different to the cold, hard description of Scrooge earlier. This contrast between the two characters is called a juxtaposition. Dickens may have used this to show how much Scrooge needs to change to become more like his nephew.
  • Question 4

Christmas tree.jpg

The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to five different Christmas' of Scrooge's life. 

 

Which scene proves too unbearable for Scrooge and makes him finally place the ghost's cap over it to end the memories? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Belle and her family
EDDIE SAYS
The final place the ghost takes Scrooge is to his former fiance Belle's house. She has a happy family life, and the image of Belle's husband with his daughter is too unbearable for Scrooge, so he places the cap over the spirit to end his torture of past memories and his regret for his actions.
  • Question 5

How much do you know about some of the minor characters? 

 

Match the descriptions to the correct character.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"He rubbed his hands; adjusted hi...
Fezziwig
"He was not alone, but sat by the...
Belle
"A little girl, much younger than...
Fan
EDDIE SAYS
We only see a brief glimpse of Fan - Scrooge's sister - when she takes him home from the boarding school for Christmas. She is a very kind, loving child but is described as "frail and delicate". We know she isn't alive at the start of the novel and can presume she died quite young. Fezziwig is Scrooge's first employer. He is a kind and generous man who treats his employees well - unlike Scrooge with Bob! His description is similar to Fred - jolly, cheerful and happy. Again, this contrasts with Scrooge's character immensely! Belle is Scrooge's former fiance. We see a painful scene in stave two of her breaking up with Scrooge because he has put money before her. Later she is shown with her husband and family and Scrooge is upset that he has missed out on a family. Although these characters make only brief appearances, they are still important to the plot and show Scrooge his regrets from his past.
  • Question 6

Image result for ignorance and want

 

At the very end of stave three, two wolf-like children emerge from the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Present.  They are pretty frightening in appearance.  

 

 Why do you think Dickens included these two characters?

 

Check all answers that are correct.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
They represent the lack of education of the rich about the poor
Their hideous appearance would shock Victorian society
They are children, which suggests that they need to be looked after by society to change the situation
EDDIE SAYS
Although this a story, Dickens has included several themes and messages for his readers to highlight current social issues of the era. Ignorance and Want are quite shocking characters, but again, they remind the reader that, at Christmas in particular, people should consider those less fortunate and understand the daily issues they face.
  • Question 7

Image result for victorian christmas

 

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge three remote places where people are still celebrating Christmas and enjoying Christmas spirit.

 

Can you remember where the ghost takes him?

CORRECT ANSWER
To men at sea
To lighthouse keepers
To miners
EDDIE SAYS
The ghost is trying to get through to Scrooge that if these people, who are isolated from society, can be happy and have Christmas spirit - then Scrooge, with all his money and people who care around him, has little excuse to not celebrate Christmas and be merry!
  • Question 8

Look at the extract below from staves three. It shows a poor but happy family enjoying Christmas Day together.

 

Stave three:

"All the Cratchit family drew round the hearth in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, and at Bob's elbow stood the family display of glasses: two tumblers, and a custard cup without a handle. These held the hot stuff from the jig, 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 crackled noisily. Then Bob proposed: "A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!" Which all the family re-echoed." 

 

What does the section in bold suggest about the Cratchit family?

CORRECT ANSWER
They are a close and loving family
They are united together
Although they are poor they are happy together
EDDIE SAYS
Don't worry if you found that tricky! The Cratchits are a really important image of family in the novel. Their portrayal shows readers that they are not just a poor family, but real human beings who, despite not having much, are loving and caring towards themselves and others.
  • Question 9

Starting with this extract, explain how Dickens shows the moral change in Scrooge throughout the novel:

 

"Yes! And the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the time before him was his own, to make amends in!

 

"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" Scrooge repeated as he scrambled out of bed. "The Spirits of all three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas time be praised for this!" I say it on my knees, old Jacob; on my knees!" 

 

He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears.

 

"They are not torn down" cried Scrooge, folding one of his bed curtains in his arms, "they are not torn down, rings and all. They are here: I am here: the shadows of the things that would have been may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will!"

 

His hands were busy with his garments all this time: turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance.

 

"I know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo there! Whoop! Hallo!""

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here is a model answer: Dickens presents Scrooge as a changed character in this extract, completely contrasting with his attitude at the start of the novel. The verbs "fluttered and glowing" demonstrate his new appreciation of life and relief that he has been given a second chance to redeem himself. Scrooge is now full of energy and ready to make amends for his past behaviour and poor treatment of others surrounding him. Dickens has used this change to try to persuade Victorian society that they too should try to think of others less fortunate than themselves, particularly at Christmas time.
  • Question 10

Finally, let's test what you have learned so far!

 

Check the true or false boxes for the following questions: 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Well done! You should now be an expert on identifying and analysing all of the characters in the novel.
Try it ---- OR ----

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