An underpaid clerk working for Scrooge, Bob Cratchit represents the suffering and poor working conditions of the lower classes. In spite of the cruel treatment he endures at work for little pay, Bob does his job without complaint. He is a dedicated and humble worker, a loving father and husband, and a kind man overall, putting a human face to a group of people Scrooge is only too willing to treat as less than human. Indeed, Scrooge forbids Bob from adequately heating his office, mocks him for requesting the day off on Christmas, threatens to fire him when he applauds Fred’s insistence that Christmas is a time for charity, and believes it ironic for Bob to talk of having a “merry” Christmas, seeing as he has a wife and family and only earns fifteen shillings a week.

However, Bob remains kind and cordial even in the face of Scrooge’s abuse, wishing Fred well on his way out the door and promising to come in early on Boxing Day. He stops to play with some children in the snow on his way home, taking the time to slide down the hill with them in celebration of the holiday and marking a stark contrast to Scrooge’s bah-humbug demeanor and his “melancholy” dinner at his usual tavern.

That Bob earnestly toasts to Scrooge’s health despite Tiny Tim’s debilitating condition—a condition for which the Cratchits can’t afford medical care due to the pittance Scrooge pays Bob—is indicative of Bob’s moral goodness, lack of bitterness, and willingness to forgive. His capacity for compassion even while his wife balks at the thought of toasting a man so terrible serves to further underscore Scrooge’s miserly ways, and also highlights what Bob has that Scrooge lacks: an awareness that family is more important than wealth, that Christmas is a time for family, and that while Bob is poor, he is rich in other ways. Through the Cratchits, Dickens not only provides a preliminary catalyst for Scrooge’s ultimate change of heart but also promotes Christian values and their significance, particularly at Christmas.