Monday, December 30, 2019

Plot Arc Summary of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol is a classic holiday tale by Charles Dickens. Its themes include love, change, and forgiveness. Quite possibly the most-quoted line in this work of literature is one of the most quoted lines in all of the greats across multiple decades. "God bless us, everyone!"

I became enamored with this story after watching the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, released in 2017. It's the story of how Dickens came up with the idea for the story and the trials he went through to make it come to life. Of course, I always love watching all the movies about authors and their lives.

Plot Arc Summary of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol

So, what are the five main plot points of A Christmas Carol? Let's dive in...

The Signup

The first main plot point is when Scrooge is visited by the first ghost, the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley, who died 7 years prior. Marley's ghost is cursed with chains of greed as he wanders the Earth. He warns Ebenezer that if he doesn't listen to the ghosts who will visit him during the night, that Scrooge will have a similar curse with chains much heavier, built from years of greed and selfishness. This warning is basically an invitation to change. If Marley hadn't appeared to Scrooge, there would be no story.

The Gunshot

The journey really begins when the first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to visit scenes of his childhood Christmases.

The Halfway Point

Scrooge's goal is to get through the night so he can wake up and go back to work, ending the nightmare. Throughout the story, his goal changes and he wants to end the nightmare and the effects of his cursed lot in life if he doesn't change his ways.

The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to see home and family of his overworked and underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit. Scrooge witnesses Tiny Tim, who will die unless the course of events change.

The Wall

Scrooge reaches his lowest point when the silent ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Ebenezer a time in the future where nobody is mourning over his own death. The only people in attendance are businessmen who are promised lunch for doing so. Scrooge's grave is neglected and he also sees the tenderness of the Cratchit family mourning over the death of Tiny Tim.

The Finish Line

The story ends with Scrooge waking on Christmas morning as a changed man. He sends a turkey to the Cratchit family, gives Bob a raise, and becomes a second father-figure to Tiny Tim.

Wouldn't it be nice if human character could change this drastically so easily? Minus all the ghosts?

Are you a Dickens fan? Do you love "A Christmas Carol"? Do you own a copy? What's your favorite movie rendition of this popular story? Share your thoughts here.

Outline Your Own Novel with the 5 Main Plot Points

Keep on keepin' on...



  1. I adore A Christmas Carol! We watch several versions each year. But you've reminded me that I want to see The Man Who Invented Christmas. Happy New Year!

  2. Maybe I'll do a plot summary of The Man Who Invented Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though my husband and children thought it was boring. Happy New Year!


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