A Christmas Carol Quotes

‘A Christmas Carol’ is a widely studied book filled with memorable quotes. These cover themes like wealth, poverty, Christmas, and kindness.

On this page, readers can explore the quotes are they are broadly separated into a few of sub-categories. These include Scrooge’s cold nature, the power of wealth, and loss.

A Christmas Carol Quotes


Scrooge’s Cold Nature

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 struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.

This is a great quote for highlighting the sort of character that Scrooge was in A Christmas Carol. The adjectives “squeezing” and “wrenching,” etc., relate to how one should imagine him with money, refusing to let go of his wealth. Whereas the line about being “solitary as an oyster” suggests that Scrooge refuses to let anybody into his life. This is evident in his early relationship with his nephew Fred.

He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge

This is another quote where Dickens draws on the semantic field of the cold weather. This is fitting because it is traditionally colder at Christmas but also because the cold is an apt metaphor for Scrooge’s personality. Here in this quote, one can see Dickens playing with literal and figurative meanings to great effect. He’s comparing Cratchit’s actual body temperature to Scrooge’s personality.

The Power of Wealth

The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it costs a fortune.

Here, Scrooge is talking about Fezziwig and how he uses his wealth to lift others up. This almost prompts a realization in Scrooge as he catches on to the fact that his wealth provides him (and indeed Fezziwig) with the power to make people happy.

I defy him—if he finds me going there, in good temper, year after year, and saying, “Uncle Scrooge, how are you?” If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds, that’s something…


This is one of Fred’s lines, and it really helps to highlight the difference in viewpoints between Fred and his uncle. Fred is unrelenting in his attempts to change his uncle’s way of thinking. Note the use of the adjective “poor” to describe Bob Cratchit. This has a double meaning both as a sympathetic term of endearment but also the fact that thanks to Scrooge the man is literally poor.

Loss

I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim—shall we—or this first parting that there was among us? … And I know… I know my dears, that when we recollect how patient and how mild he was; although he was a little, little child, we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it.

This poignant moment arrives when Scrooge is looking at “Christmas yet to come.” It is a dark, sad moment but Bob Cratchit handles the situation with grace and dignity.

The Spirit pointed from the grave to him, and back again. “No, Spirit! Oh, no, no!” The finger was still there. “Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at his robe, “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse! Why show me this, if I am past all hope!” For the first time, the hand appeared to shake.

Here, readers are exposed to the ghost of “Christmas yet to come.” The ghost breaks the news to Scrooge that the person whose death has been talked about so callously was his own. Leading up to this moment it appears as if Scrooge already fears that this is the case, but that does not detract from the tension that Dickens can create here.

FAQs

What was Scrooge’s famous saying?

His most famous saying is “bah humbug.” He used it as an exclamation when he wanted to express his displeasure about something.

What is the last line of A Christmas Carol?

The last line of A Christmas Carol is “God bless us, everyone.” It’s spoken by the well-loved character Tiny Tim.

About Lee-James Bovey
Lee-James, a.k.a. LJ, has been a Book Analysis team member since it was first created. During the day, he's an English Teacher. During the night, he provides in-depth analysis and summary of books.
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