Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

A Christmas Carol, Stave Three / Ghost of Christmas Present; Meaning of this Passage:?

I have a question about what this section in the book means:

But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and

chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in

their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And at the

same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets, lanes, and

nameless turnings, innumerable people, carrying their dinners

to the baker' shops. The sight of these poor revellers

appeared to interest the Spirit very much, for he stood with

Scrooge beside him in a baker's doorway, and taking off the

covers as their bearers passed, sprinkled incense on their

dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind

of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words

between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he

shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good

humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame

to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was. God love

it, so it was.

In time the bells ceased, and the bakers were shut up; and

yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners

and the progress of their cooking, in the thawed blotch of

wet above each baker's oven; where the pavement smoked as

if its stones were cooking too.

`Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from

your torch?' asked Scrooge.

`There is. My own.'

`Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?'

asked Scrooge.

`To any kindly given. To a poor one most.'

`Why to a poor one most?' asked Scrooge.

`Because it needs it most.'

`Spirit,' said Scrooge, after a moment's thought, `I wonder

you, of all the beings in the many worlds about us, should

desire to cramp these people's opportunities of innocent


`I?' cried the Spirit.

`You would deprive them of their means of dining every

seventh day, often the only day on which they can be said

to dine at all,' said Scrooge. `Wouldn't you?'

`I?' cried the Spirit.

`You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day,' said

Scrooge. `And it comes to the same thing!'

`I seek?' exclaimed the Spirit.

`Forgive me if I am wrong. It has been done in your

name, or at least in that of your family,' said Scrooge.

`There are some upon this earth of yours,' returned the Spirit,

`who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion,

pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness

in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and

kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge

their doings on themselves, not us.'

I'm very confused at what Dickens is getting at here. Any help is greatly appreciated!

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In the London of Dickens' time, and for many years before and afterward, most lower-class and poor families didn't have kitchens and cookstoves and baking ovens of their own. Most of their everyday cooking was done by the fireplace. Anything larger was taken to the neighborhood bakers, who for a penny or two, would cook it for them. This included, bread and cakes, roasts, Christmas geese or turkeys, ham or fowl of any kind.

    Many leaders of the Church of England, going on the idea that Sundays and Holidays were sacred, wanted to close all businesses on those days, including the bakeshops, which meant that for thousands of poor families, there would be nothing substantial to eat on those days.

    The spirit of Christmas Present blesses with his torch of goodness the dinners of the poor as they go to the bakeshops.

    Scrooge mistakenly assumes that since the Church leaders want to close the bakeshops on Sundays, it is something that the Spirit of Christmas agrees with. The Spirit disagrees strongly, and tells Scrooge that there are many people who claim to know what God wants for the world, and lay down laws of hatred, fear, bigotry, and selfishness in God's name. These people, say the Spirit, know nothing of what God is, and what God really wants for the world. Blame these people for the bad things they do, not God.

    Since, to Dickens, the Spirit of Christmas Present is an embodiment of Christ and the Holy Spirit for the Christmas holiday, it's a message that still has a lot of meaning for us today.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    The Ghost of Christmas previous confirmed Scrooge what had taken place in his adolescents and adolescents and what he had and gave up. The Ghost of Christmas modern-day shows Scrooge what's going on at modern-day and how chuffed and contented his worker is in spite of his short comings.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ive never read it but what i can see; what spirit is saying is that people should stop blaming others for their own disgraces and look upon their own reflection.

    ps. is it like Christmas carol the movie cause i want to go see it?

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.