A Christmas Carol.
  • It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form‘ is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 4).
  • A Christmas Carol is a novella, or short story, written by Charles Dickens and first published in the Christmas of 1843. The allegorical tale tells the story of the transformation of the mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge through the visits of the spirit of his former business partner and three ghosts over the course of a Christmas Eve night. It remains a much-loved traditional Christmas tale.


This quotation is a description of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the last of the three ghosts to visit Ebenezer Scrooge over the course of a Christmas Eve night.

The ghost’s appearance, its face hidden and wearing deep black garments, has a resemblance to the Grim Reaper, symbolising the approach of death. The theme of death will become apparent to Scrooge in the visions presented to him by the ghost. The colour black is used as it is typically associated with the unknown or negative situations.

Illustration from Stave 4 of the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge tormented by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Literary Technique.

This is an example of the literary devices Charles Dickens uses in his works, here using the technique of symbolism. Symbolism is a powerful and common literary technique in which an author uses of objects, characters, ideas, actions, events or situations to represent something else. The use of symbolism often coveys a deeper message then the literal meaning. In this quotation Dickens uses the description of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come to represent death. The ghost’s resemblance to the Grim Reaper symbolises approaching death, which we see later on in Stave 4 with a visions of the death of Scrooge and how little people care for his passing. Tiny Tim has also died in the visions shown by the ghost.

Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (often referred to as The Ghost Of Christmas Future) is a darker phantom than the other two ghosts and the spirit that Scrooge finds the most fearsome. It appears to him as a figure entirely muffled in a black hooded cloak, except for a single hand with which it points. Although the character never speaks in the story, Scrooge understands it, usually through assumptions from his previous experiences and rhetorical questions. It looks the way it does because it represents what the future holds for Scrooge if he does not change his ways. The Ghost shows Scrooge visions including one of the Cratchit house without Tiny Tim and of Scrooge’s death, his body picked upon by thieves who show joy at his passing. The visions prove so horrific to Scrooge that he begs the ghost for them to stop.


Taken from the following passage in Stave 4 (The Last Of The Three Spirits) of A Christmas Carol:

The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently, approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

“I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” said Scrooge.

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It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form.
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