We have four ghosts in “A Christmas carol”. There is Jacob Marley. He is a ghost who has come back to warn scrooge that three ghosts are coming to see him. “The chain he drew was clasped about his middle”. He is also warning him that he will, like Jacob, be made to wear the chain that he “forged in life”. The chain is described as vividly in the text, and it all linked because of Scrooges job. “It was made of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel”.
Jacob is described with a “pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights, and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. ” The second of the ghosts is the ‘Ghost of Christmas Past’. This too is described vividly, but in a different way to Jacob Marley. “It was a strange figure- like a child; yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child’s proportions.
Its hair, which hung about its neck and down its back, was white as if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderness bloom was on the skin. The arms were very long and muscular; the hands the same, as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most delicately formed, were, like those upper members, bear. It wore a tunic of the purest white; and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt, the sheen of which was beautiful. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and, in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem, had its dress trimmed with summer flowers.
But the strangest thing about it was, that from the crown of its head there sprang a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was visible; and which was doubtless the occasion of its using, in its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm”. The light and the cap that springs from the head can be interpreted as different things. Its job is to show Scrooge some upsetting memories from past Christmas’s. He is a reminder ghost, who is making him feel guilty. The third ghost is the “Ghost of Christmas present. ” This one is a different kind of description.
“It was clothed in one simple deep green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely on the figure that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. Its feet, observable beneath the ample folds of the garment, were also bare; and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath, set here and there with shining icicles. Its dark-brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air.
Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but no sword was in it. And the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust”. This is once again a warning ghost. A ghost who is there to warn scrooge what his actions are doing to other people. The last of the ghosts is the “Ghost of Christmas yet to come”. Like all the other spirits this is described in tremendous detail, but in a slightly different way to the others. The others were definitely impressive, but the last one is shrouded in mystery and the classic tension and atmosphere starts to build-up. This is how it is described.
“It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible, save one outstretched hand. But for this, it would have been difficult to detach its finger from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. ” We now get into the more eerie feel. If we look at the characters which are not ghost but highly needed in the story we have the victims. There are two of these in “A Christmas Carol”. They are Bob Cratchit and, of course, none other then Ebenezer Scrooge. Although Bob isn’t a victim of the haunting’s.