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affability: pleasantness; congeniality
aught: anything whatever
baleful: harmful
bedight: adorned
biffins: dried apples used in cooking
bilious: affected by gastric distress
bob: a shilling
cant: hypocritically pious language
capital: excellent
daws: birds; jackdaws
declension: a descending slope
diffuse: to spread or scatter widely or thinly
execrable: hateful
facetious: lacking serious intent
filberts: hazelnuts
forbear: to resist
furrows: narrow grooves in the ground
furze: an evergreen shrub
hearth: the floor of a fireplace; the area directly before a fireplace
mantle: a loose, sleeveless cloak
menagerie: an enclosure for wild animals

parapets: defensive walls in a fortification

pawnbrokers: the shop of a dealer licensed to lend money on the security of personal property,
which the dealer can sell if the money is not repaid
plume: variant to pride (oneself)
quartern: one-quarter of a whole
rampant: unrestrained
reverently: respectfully
scabbard: a sheath for a sword
seething: foaming; boiling
squab: a pigeon
tarry: to delay
twelfth-cakes: ornamented cakes
wanton: lustful
Study Questions
1. Describe what the second ghost looks like.
2. How does its personality differ from the Ghost of Christmas Past?
3. The Ghost of Christmas Present has more than eighteen hundred brothers. Where does this
number come from?
4. What is the atmosphere on the streets as Scrooge and the ghost venture forth? How does
Dickens, through the narrator, create it?
5. Dickens uses personification to describe the Spanish onions in the fruiterers shops. How does
he use this device, and what purpose does it serve?.
6. Scrooge accuses the spirit of depriving people of their means of dinner every seventh day,
by closing shops. What is the spirits response?
7. Bob Cratchits name is used for the first time in this section. What is the significance of
naming him here instead of when the reader first meets him in Stave One?

8. Why does Tiny Tim hope the churchgoers notice him? What does his hope suggest about Tiny
9. Describe the attire of the Cratchit family. What does it reveal about them?
10. In many of the scenes in Stave Three, people are singingthe Cratchits, the mining family,
the seamen, and Freds family and friends. What point is the ghost making by showing these
scenes to Scrooge?
11. According to Fred, who suffers unfortunate consequences when Scrooge declines Freds
invitation each Christmas? What does Fred intend to do about it in the future, and why?
12. Including specific details from the text, describe Freds party. What happens to Scrooge as he
watches the party?
13. Both Bob Cratchit and Fred toast Scrooge. What does this suggest about mankind?
14. When will the spirits life end?
15. What do the children in the spirits robes symbolize? What response do they elicit from
16. After the spirit tells Scrooge about the childrens fate, Scrooge asks Have they no refuge or
resource? To which the spirit echoes Scrooges questions from Stave One: Are there no
prisons? . . . Are there no workhouses? What does this exchange suggest about a change in
Scrooge? Has he changed? How do you know?