A Christmas Carol Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Act of Philanthropy
Common Good
Generosity of Spirit
by Charles Dickens - A classic novel about the iconic character Scrooge who explores the choices he made in his life that serve himself and his community. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build understanding of the spirit of generosity.

In this story, Charles Dickens tackles the meaning of Christmas and the impact of greed on the individual and on the community. Originally published in 1843, "A Christmas Carol" has remained popular throughout the years. It challenges the reader to consider the importance of philanthropic actions and intentionally maintaining our relationships with friends and family. The universal themes are relevant any time of year, but most especially around the Christmas holiday.

Literature Guide by Maureen Klein

Discussion Questions

  1. What is your opinion of Scrooge? Would you expect Scrooge to do philanthropy? Why or why not? Consider: how Scrooge chooses to live his life; how he treats others (such as Bob Cratchit); his response to the Gentleman Visitor's request; and, the author's description of Scrooge.
  2. What do you think Marley's chain represents? Why does he wear it?
  3. Why does Marley appear to Scrooge?
  4. Compare Scrooge with his late partner, Jacob Marley. How are they alike? Now contrast Scrooge with his old master, Fezziwig. How are they different?
  5. Consider the three spirits. What is significant about each ghost and the memories they share with Scrooge? Why were all three necessary for Scrooge's transformation?
  6. According to Scrooge, why was Fezziwig a good master?
  7. Why are Ignorance and Want tied to the Ghost of Christmas Present?
  8. Consider the role of Tiny Tim in this story. Why is he a pivotal character? Discuss how Dickens portrays a child with a disability.
  9. What led Scrooge to change from the beginning of the book to the end?
  10. If Dickens were to write this story today, in what ways might the story be different?
  11. This classic story has remained popular through the years. Do you feel it is still relevant in today's society? Why or why not?


  1. Dickens wrote novels that criticized the attitudes of the greedy and exposed the abuses of the poor. Complete the Blue Sky Visioning activity from Learning to Give to explore what you are passionate about. Make a plan to take steps to improve your school or community.

  2. Research one caring and sharing opportunity in your school, church or community. Get involved and take action to support the project.

  3. Carefully review Dickens’ descriptions of Marley and the three ghosts. Sketch colorful portraits of each ghost Label your sketches and write a description explaining the purpose of each ghost and how it affected Scrooge. Indicate which spirit seemed to affect Scrooge the most and why.

  4. Pretend you are a reporter from a London newspaper and interview Scrooge. In your news article answer the following questions. Lay this out to look like a page in a newspaper.
    o Mr. Scrooge, you were once known as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” How would you describe yourself now? What would you say caused this change?
    o What was most important to you in the past? What is important to you now?
    o What is your deepest regret about the past? Why is that such a cause of regret?
    o Since you have changed, which deed are you proudest of and why?
    o How has becoming a philanthropist affected the way you feel about others? How has it changed you?
    o What advice would you give others, based on your own experience?
    o How would you like to be remembered? In fact, how would you like your epitaph to read?

  5. Scrooge buys a huge turkey for the Cratchits’ Christmas dinner. Explain what organizations in your community do to help bring cheer to others over the holidays. Interview members of at least three community organizations to find out what they do. Make a poster to encourage others to support these organizations be sure to include their names, phone numbers and an explanation of the opportunities for service.