Forget tiny Tim Cratchit - there space two other child personalities in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol that, for writer Chris Priestley, are far much more powerful: Ignorance and also Want. This is why


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Scrooge, voiced by Jim Carrey, in the 2009 Disney adaptation the Charles Dickens’s standard tale. Photograph: Disney/Everett/Rex Feature
Scrooge, voiced by Jim Carrey, in the 2009 Disney adaptation the Charles Dickens’s standard tale. Photograph: Disney/Everett/Rex Feature

When i was eight or so and living in Gibraltar (my father was in the army and we were terminal there), mine teacher read us A Christmas Carol through Charles Dickens together a pre-Christmas treat. The setup of a cold and also frosty victor London was far removed indigenous 1960s Gibraltar - and also maybe that’s among the factors it made such a lasting impression.


however A Christmas Carol is much more than simply a story. The is a tirade against greed, selfishness and neglect. It offers the story of a rich man - the startlingly nasty Scrooge - to to mark the plight of those influenced by the greed and also meanness the exemplifies.

You are watching: Ignorance and want a christmas carol


The famed child in A Christmas Carol is poor “Tiny” Tim Cratchit however there are two others. As soon as Scrooge meets the Ghost the Christmas Present, he is shocked once two wild and ragged youngsters tumble the end from the giant’s robes.

He think they need to belong come the giant, however he speak Scrooge the they room Man’s. He speak him the young is called Ignorance and the girl Want.


“Beware lock both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy…”

Every Christmas with the 70s (I was now on a council legacy in Newcastle where snow was an ext familiar), the BBC showed an Oscar-winning animated variation of the story through Richard Williams, with Alistair center voicing Scrooge. That is beautifully animated in a style that evokes the john Leech illustrations indigenous the initial publication, yet whereas the children are reasonably bland inventions in those engravings, here they space snarling beasts. Ns was - and remain - fascinated through them.


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the is a brief moment in the story however surely a key moment - and a big part of why the story is still for this reason relevant. Ignorance and also Want stay the element movers behind so countless of the worlds ills.

Dickens to be passionate around education - education for all. He was a steadfast campaigner because that public libraries and also would it is in - correctly - dislike to check out how small we it seems ~ to value them now.

but Dickens was having actually a walk at his complacent reader - he was chastising them around their own ignorance - an ignorance that remained in many cases a wilful ignoring of the plight the their fellow Londoners.

The critical of the soul attempts to use the framework of Dickens’ fable to tell the story of two homeless street youngsters - a brother and sister - that will come to be those very same two kids the Ghost that Christmas current calls Ignorance and also Want.

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I offer them name - Sam and also Lizzy - and a back story the weaves in and also out the Scrooge’s own story that his relationship to his deceased partner Jacob Marley. It likewise hints at some of the hardship Dickens himself knew as a boy and also which gifted the the capability to empathise with others who had not had actually not been lucky enough to escape a fate he could so easily have shared.


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Last of the soul cover Photograph: PR agency handout The last of the heart is emphatically no a re-telling. That a response. That a thank you. It’s fan fiction.