The weather reflects the state of Scrooge’s heart, tracking his journey from cruel to kind. In the beginning, prior to his meeting with Jacob Marley, the weather is “cold, bleak, biting,” sometimes “piercing, searching,” the fog “dense.” Scrooge himself is similar; his demeanor is described as cold, so even though the weather is bitter, Scrooge is bitterer still. After Scrooge vows to change, the fog lifts and the temperature, while still cold, is now “clear, bright, jovial, stirring.” The sunlight is “golden,” the sky “heavenly,” the fresh air “sweet.”


References to time recur throughout the story. First and foremost, Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, and the story is divvied up accordingly. Their presence disrupts the flow of time, reflecting the spirits’ supernatural nature—Jacob Marley says the ghosts will visit his friend over the course of three nights, but when Scrooge wakes on Christmas morning, a changed man, after going sleep a penny-pinching miser on Christmas Eve, it seems no time has passed. Further, clocks and church bells continually chime the hour, inserting a sense of urgency into the story and underscoring the idea that for Scrooge, time is running out to make amends.


Poverty dominates the novella from beginning to end, with Scrooge’s lack of empathy for the poor setting up the novel’s inciting incident. Dickens uses poverty to shine a light on society’s ills, suggesting the fortunate have a moral responsibility to help those who have less. Through poverty, Dickens also espouses the ideals of charity and generosity, and posits that wealth does not equal happiness.