This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want.

Background.

A Christmas Carol.

Context.

Quote said by The Ghost of Christmas Present to Ebenezer Scrooge. The Ghost of Christmas Present is the second of the three spirits that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent his selfish ways.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is the second of the three spirits that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent. The spirit transports Scrooge around the city, showing him scenes of festivity and also deprivation that are happening as they watch.

The spirit finally reveals to Scrooge two emaciated children, subhuman in appearance and loathsome to behold, clinging to his robes, and names the boy as Ignorance and the girl as Want. The spirit warns Scrooge, “Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom unless the writing be erased.” The spirit once again quotes Scrooge, who asks if the grotesque children have “no refuge, no resource,” and the spirit retorts with more of Scrooge’s unkind words: “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge being taken to see two emaciated children - named as Ignorance and Want - by the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge being taken to see two emaciated children – named as Ignorance and Want – by the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Character Profile: Ghost of Christmas Present.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is the second of the three spirits that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent. He appears to Scrooge as a jolly giant with dark brown curls, wearing a fur-lined green robe and on his head a holly wreath set with shining icicles. He carries a large torch, made to resemble a cornucopia, and appears accompanied by a great feast, and a scabbard with no sword in it, a representation of peace on Earth and good will toward men. The spirit transports Scrooge around the city, showing him scenes of festivity and also deprivation that are happening as they watch, sprinkling a little warmth from his torch as he travels. Amongst the visits are Scrooge’s nephew, and the family of his impoverished clerk, Bob Cratchit and hs disabled son Tiny Tim.

Source.

Taken from the following passage in Stave 3 (The Second Of The Three Spirits) of A Christmas Carol:

“Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.
They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.


Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.


“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

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This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want.
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2019-01-07T17:00:37+00:00Categories: A Christmas Carol|Tags: , |

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