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christmas carol

Explain the arrival of the third ghost in A Christmas Carol.


Before departing from Scrooge, the second ghost, the ghost of Christmas Present opens his huge robe to expose two children, Ignorance and Want.  When Scrooge inquires if there is not someone who can care for them, the ghost counters against him with Scrooge's own words:  "Are there no workhouses?"

Then, in the midst of darkness, the Ghost of Christmas Future "slowly, gravely, silently approached."  The air through which the "Phantom" moves seems to "scatter gloom and mystery."  It is "shrouded" all in black and nothing is visible but his outstretched hand which is all that separates it from the darkness of the night.  This phantom does not speak: its mysterious presence fills Scrooge with fear and dread of what is to come.  When Scrooge asks if he is the ghost of Christmas Future, the black phantom merely points downward with his hand.  After  doing this, he leads Scrooge through the  London streets, where he hears a group of businessmen laughing about a death as they discuss how cheap the burial will be.  Later Scrooge sees a ragpicker bartering with others who have drapes and clothing that they have taken from a house.

Scrooge is more terrified by this spectre who shows him what is yet to come than he is of the others, for Scrooge hopes that he can have his fate reversed. 

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