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The four ghosts that visit Ebenezer, the ghost of Jacob Marley, Christmases past, present and yet to come, have been of particular interest to scholars and have received different interpretation and varying criticisms.
The first ghost that visit Ebenezer is that of his former business partner Jacob Marley whom when alive was parsimonious, cruel and remote just like Ebenezer. He appears dragging heavy chains that are described by many authors as the problems that are striving to topple him down even after his death. He is somnolent and daunting and Dickens indicates that “Marleys face ... had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar." Marley has a bandage under his chin, tied at the top of his head…” (Dickens, 1990). Bloom (2011) describes the ghost of Marley as poorly interwoven into the story considering its first appearance at the doorway. However, Moore (2004) perceives this ghost to be the time when one starts sensing the perils of living a disconsolate, unpitying and quarantined life and is the first step towards personal rectification. Fantasy was giving way to reality and Dickens was being awakened to start considering what life has offered him and what may befall him through the eyes of his business partner.
Additionally, the Ghost of Christmases Past comes to Ebenezer and makes him to remember his lost humanity. He reflects through his previous life and realizes that he had lost touch with humanity. It takes him to his childhood and youth which reminds him of a time when he was more acquitted and kinder. He remembers how good his employer treated him and admires the good relationship that he once had with his sister, Fan (Barnett& Dickens, 1886). The scene also reminds Ebenezer of Belle, his neglected fiancée, who ends their relationship after realizing that he would never lover her as much as money and riches. Ebenezer is worried after facing the bitter reality and begs the spirit not to
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