Friday, December 25, 2020

Tiny Tim in Dickens' A Christmas Carol

The character Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (which was published in 1843) is one of the minor characters in the story whom Scrooge sees when he and the Ghost of Christmas Present make an invisible visit to the Cratchet family on Christmas Day. Suffering from what was likely renal tubular acidosis, or possibly rickets, Tim is doomed to die unless Scrooge changes his ways, and pays Tim's father better. Both diseases were treatable in Dickens' time, but fatal if they were not treated, which follows the announcement toward the end of the story that because of Scrooge's increasing Bob Cratchet's salary, Tim is able to live. Even though Tim Cratchet is a static character, and doesn't have a character arc, his inclusion in the story is important, and was a smart move on Dickens' part. One big thing Tim's presence does, is to show that Scrooge's change of heart comes not because of fear for his own salvation alone, but also because his changing will save Tiny Tim. This shows Scrooge's change of heart to be more altruistic than readers might think without Tim's inclusion. Also, Tim's predicament, and his family's, illuminated the plight of poor people in Dickens' day, which was a topic that Dickens was mindful of in his stories, educating the readers of his books about the needs of others, which is something I appreciate in A Christmas Carol.

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