Monday, 19 September 2011

The Anonymous Bob Cratchit

Here's an interesting thing I noticed when rereading A Christmas Carol: Bob Cratchit isn't even mentioned by name until well into the third chapter. He first appears, unnamed, a few pages into Stave I:
The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters.
For the rest of that chapter, he is referred to simply as the clerk. We only learn his name in Stave III: The Second of the Three Spirits:
And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his, or else it was his own kind, generous, hearty nature, and his sympathy with all poor men, that led him straight to Scrooge's clerk's; for there he went, and took Scrooge with him, holding to his robe; and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled, and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit's dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch.
I'm sure there are many aspects of the story we take for granted until we revisit Dickens's words for ourselves.

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