Keep the following the following passage in mind while reading pp. 128-131 in the Penguin edition:

"Dickens as the boy," explained Rowland Hill, a Dickensian who had seen the author read . . . , "put his thumb to his nose, and spread out his fingers, with a jeer, at the syllable ER [in the street-boy's retort of "Walker!"]. This was a common way to call their pals 'Fools' without using the word." (Hearn 165).

Discussion Questions

1. What is the effect of this Cockney slang after Scrooge's visioned death?

2. What is the significance of Scrooge's identifying himself with well-known comedian Joe Miller>

3. The scene of Scrooge's sending the prize turkey to the Cratchits was criticized in the Westminster Review as being "grossly incompatible with political economy" for "The process whereby poor men are enabled to earn good wages, wherewith to buy turkeys for themselves, does not enter into the account" (cited in Hearn, 166). With what political faction does Dickens seem to be allying himself in this scene? What would a Marxist critic make of Scrooge and his conduct here? How would Revenue Canada or the American Income Tax Office treat the turkey, as an unsolicited gift or a taxable benefit? Explain.

4. Why does Dickens arrange for Scrooge to bump into the "portly gentleman"?

5. Dickens has been accused of turning the festival of Christ's birth into a Saturnalian celebration of eating and drinking: what minimal gesture does Dickens make towards the Christian spirit of the holiday?

6. The conclusion involves social re-integration of the aberrant spirit and the re-initiation into the human family. How do the final scenes contribute to this movement>

Last modified 12 June 2001