A Christmas Carol
Stave Five: The End of It
Scrooge, grateful for a second chance at his life, sings the praises of the spirits and of Jacob Marley. Upon realizing he has been returned to Christmas morning, Scrooge begins shouting "Merry Christmas!" at the top of his lungs. Genuinely over joyed and bubbling with excitement, Scrooge barely takes time to dress and dances while he shaves. In a blur, Scrooge runs into the street and offers to pay the first boy he meets a huge sum to deliver a great Christmas turkey to Bob Cratchit's. He meets one of the portly gentlemen who earlier sought charity for the poor and apologizes for his previous rudeness, promising to donate huge sums of money to the poor. He attends Fred's Christmas party and radiates such heartfelt bliss that the other guests can hardly manage to swallow their shock at his surprising behavior.
The following morning, Scrooge arrives at the office early and assumes a very stern expression when Bob Cratchit enters eighteen and a half minutes late. Scrooge, feigning disgust, begins to scold Bob, before suddenly announcing his plans to give Cratchi t a large raise and assist his troubled family. Bob is stunned, but Scrooge promises to stay true to his word.
As time passes, Scrooge is as good as his word: He helps the Cratchits and becomes a second father to Tiny Tim who does not die as predicted in the ghost's ominous vision. Many people in London are puzzled by Scrooge's behavior, but Scrooge merely laughs off their suspicions and doubts. Scrooge brings a little of the Christmas spirit into every day, respecting the lessons of Christmas more than any man alive. The narrator concludes the story by saying that Scrooge's words and thoughts should be shared by of all of us ... "and so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, Every one!"
This short closing Stave provides an optimistic and upbeat conclusion to the story, showing the new Ebenezer Scrooge starting off his new life with a comic display of happiness and Christmas cheer. It also rounds out the symmetrical structure of the novella, as Scrooge encounters, in sequence, the same people he treated with cruelty in Stave One. Only this time, the newly reborn Scrooge sheds his grumpy bah humbugs in favor of warm holiday greetings. He sends a turkey to the Cratchits and gives Bob a raise, atoning for his previous bitterness toward his clerk in Stave One. Scrooge also asks Bob to order more heating coals where previously, in Stave One, he forced Bob to suffer in the cold. He apologizes to the portly gentleman he meets on the street and pledges lavish contributions for his charity, where in Stave One he threw him out of his counting-house. Scrooge also happily attends Fred's party, where, before the ghostly visits, he had told Fred that he would see him in hell before coming to the party.
The last comment holds a great deal of significance in Stave Five, as Scrooge has quite literally escaped hell by going to the party--or rather, by experiencing the moral conversion that compels him to look fondly on the holiday gathering. He is quite literally a saved man and the story of his redemptions ends with a note of extraordinary optimism. The famous last words of the novel--"God bless us, Every one!"--conveys perfectly the fellow feeling and good cheer to which Scrooge awakens as his story unfolds and that A Christmas Carol so vehemently celebrates.
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