Lesson Plans: Grades 6-8

Lesson 2: Scrooge as He is Revealed during the Ghostly Experiences

Created November 3, 2014


The Lesson


As students read the entirety of A Christmas Carol, they will undoubtedly note that the novel is organized around the visits of the ghosts promised by Marley. The apparitions all focus on what Scrooge himself lacks—family, love, companionship, good will, happiness regardless of wealth; his responses illuminate much about his character. While Dickens through the narrator makes many direct statements about the protagonist, the text also enables readers to infer insights that make it clear that Scrooge is not a flat caricature of a miser but a character of some complexity. (CCSS RL8.1).

In stave 2, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge on a journey through the past, including an unhappy childhood and a failed romance. In stave 3, the Ghost of Christmas Present leads Scrooge on a journey through various scenes of the present, most notably and lengthily, celebrations at the homes of the Cratchits and of the nephew and his wife. Stave 4 features the Ghost of Christmas Future and presents a dire possibility for Scrooge. Clips from movies scenes of the ghostly visitations can be very useful as a preliminary activity to help students to visualize events in the story.

This lesson is part of an EDSITEment curriculum unit about A Christmas Carol which includes background notes and a summative unit assessment along with lesson extenders.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe Scrooge’s experiences during his encounters with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future
  • Identify ways that Dickens used both direct and indirect characterization to illuminate Ebenezer Scrooge

Preparation and Resources

Lesson Activities

Activity 1. Scrooge as He is Revealed during the Ghostly Experiences

Point out that Scrooge’s ghostly visitations all occur during the night. Why? Does Scrooge really see ghosts, or is he dreaming? Ask students to describe Scrooge’s responses to anticipating and experiencing the ghosts and the things they show him.

Explain that authors use both direct characterization (direct statements about characters’ personalities and intentions) and indirect characterization (details that enable readers to infer what is not directly stated). If necessary, provide an example from students’ previous reading experiences or from a movie they have seen.

Then have the class use Worksheet 2 to investigate in detail the experiences engineered by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. You may want to assign staves to groups and then have the class pool information. Follow with discussion, using the teachers version of Worksheet 2.

Activity 2 follow-up discussion questions:

  • What do the three ghostly experiences have in common? Why did Dickens choose this similarity?
  • If there were a fourth ghost, what might it look like? What might it represent?
  • It is easy at first to think of Scrooge as nothing more than a mean old miser. How do the vision scenes demonstrate that he is actually quite complex?


Assign students to write narrative pieces describing an additional experience Scrooge might have had with one of the three ghosts including Scrooge’s responses to it. Direct students to use dialogue and to incorporate both direct and indirect characterization.

The Basics

Time Required

1 class periods

Subject Areas
  • Literature and Language Arts > Genre > Common Core
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Compare and contrast
  • Creative writing
  • Critical thinking
  • Discussion
  • Essay writing
  • Interpretation
  • Literary analysis
  • Textual analysis
  • Writing skills
  • Mary Anne Kovacs