While most people often associate ghosts with Halloween, the cold and dark of winter was a time full of mystery for the Victorians whose imagination was dominated by the gray landscape and quiet nights.
For this reason in A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens uses three Spirits of Christmas as impactful symbols to render the theme of fate.
“I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
The Ghost of Christmas Past represents memory. She shows Scrooge events from his past in hopes of shedding light on how Scrooge became bitter and miserly and to remind him that he was not always that way.
The Ghost of Christmas Present represents generosity and good will. He shows Scrooge scenes of people sharing what they have with each other, even if they have very little. This Ghost seeks to show Scrooge that the true meaning of the holiday is found in the joy that comes from giving to others and celebrating together.
The Ghost of Christmas Future represents fear of death. This Ghost intends to show Scrooge that if he continues in his current fashion, there is a reckoning that awaits him. In death, Jacob Marley paid for his actions on Earth. If he does not change, Scrooge will suffer the same fate.