An Analysis Of The Effects Of Spiritual Visitations On Scrooge
Scrooge learned a great deal about himself during the visitations of the three ghosts in A Christmas Carol. He learned things that not only changed his life, but also the lives of others such as Tiny Tim and his family. At first these changes came gradually, probably because they where not really "fueled" by fear of what might be, but instead by remorse for things he had already done. Not until the second and third spirits visit Scrooge can a true change due to fear, not only in fear for what might be during his life but also in the end.
His realization of what might be is seen first with the second of the spirits. This spirit shows him people from all walks of life, miners, sailors, and even lighthouse attendants, but of all the places he went, his nephew's and the Cratchit's homes were probably the most disturbing. Fred, Scrooge's own flesh and blood, began mocking his own uncle in a game he and his guests played. In a way this is when Scrooge began to realize that the truth hurts, and the truth was his life was a terrible mess of loneliness and misery. He knew if he didn't do something soon his testimony to life would be much like the things his nephew said about him in the game played at the party.
Then there was the Cratchit's who seemed to be more grateful towards Scrooge, a man who gave them barely enough money to buy food and shelter, then they really should have been. At first when Scrooge sees Bob stand to toast him he's almost filled with pride or at least an enlarged ego, but when Mrs. Cratchit says in a fit of rage "I'll drink his health for your sake, and the Day's, not for his. Long life to him! A merry Christmas and a happy New Year! He'll be very merry and very happy I have no doubt!"
(Dikens, 80) Scrooge is only reminded of what he is and what he may end up as.
The third and final ghost brings Scrooges own fear of his existence into a new light by actually scaring Scrooge into realizing what his life is and what will happen if something doesn't change. The first scene is one especially disturbing for Scrooge it takes place in the "market", a place he spent a great deal of his life in. He sees some friends, or at least some acquaintances he thought he could call friends, talking about his death. They chatted casually about his death and of how cheap they thought the funeral would be. In fact none would even commit to go unless another of went along, for fear of being the only one there. To see his "friends" talk so lowly of him even in his death made him realize once again how meaningless his life was and how his death, as inevitable as it was, really didn't have any effect on anyone but himself.
The second place we are taken to is the slums of the city, to a pawnshop to be exact, where three thieves pawn off Scrooges valuables. They took everything from his curtains to the sheets on his bed, a bed he was lying dead in, and had no remorse for it. In fact they made jokes about his death saying they just hoped it wasn't contagious. To this Scrooge was speechless, he knew some disliked him but to steal from the dead is unheard of. Once again he was reminded of what he had become, and now he had a glimpse of the track he was headed down.
The last and final place the third spirit takes him is a cold, dark graveyard. As they pass through the spirit stops and points to a tombstone. Finally Scrooge, truly realizing his mortality, says to the spirit "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if preserved in, they must lead, but if courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus which you show me!" (Dikens, 117) This is his last effort to convince himself he can change.
The three ghosts taught Scrooge many things but most of all they made him realize he needed to change, or his testimony to life would be nothing more than that of a sour old man who's only purpose in life was to fill the punch lines in jokes about him. In the end it's not how long you live, it's how you live that separates people. Thanks to the three spirits Scrooge learned this valuable lesson.