Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
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|Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come|
Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Original illustration by John Leech (1843)
|First appearance||A Christmas Carol 1843|
|Created by||Charles Dickens|
|Nickname(s)||The Ghost Of Christmas Future, Christmas Future|
|Occupation||Producer of Visions|
|Relatives||The Ghost Of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present.|
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, also known as The Ghost of Christmas Future, or sometimes just Christmas Future, is a fictional character in English novelist Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It is the ghost that haunts the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to adopt a more caring attitude in life and avoid the horrid afterlife of his business partner, Jacob Marley.
Scrooge finds the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come the most fearsome of the spirits; he appears to Scrooge as a figure entirely muffled in a black hooded robe, except for a single gaunt hand with which he points. Although the character never speaks in the story, Scrooge understands him, usually through assumptions from his previous experiences and rhetorical questions. The Ghost's muteness and undefined features (being always covered by his robe) may also have been intended to represent the uncertainty of the future. He is notable that even in satires and parodies of the tale, this spirit nonetheless retains his original look.
- 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. ... It thrilled him [Scrooge] with a vague uncertain horror, to know that behind the dusky shroud there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him, while he, though he stretched his own to the utmost, could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black.
When the Ghost makes his appearance, the first thing he shows Scrooge is three wealthy gentlemen making light of a recent death, remarking that it will be a cheap funeral, if anyone comes at all. One businessman said he would go only if lunch is provided, while another said he did not eat lunch or wear black gloves, so there was no reason for him to go at all. Next, Scrooge is shown the same dead person's belongings being stolen and sold to a receiver of stolen goods called Old Joe. He also sees a shrouded corpse, which he implores the ghost not to unmask, and a poor, debtor family rejoicing that someone to whom they owed money is dead. After pleading to the ghost to see some tenderness connected with death, Scrooge is shown Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the passing of Tiny Tim. (In the prior visitation, the Ghost of Christmas Present states that Tiny Tim's illness was not incurable, but implied that the meager income Scrooge provided to Bob Cratchit was not enough for him to provide Tim with adequate treatment.) Scrooge is then taken to an unkempt graveyard, where he is shown his own grave, and realizes that the dead man of whom the others spoke ill was himself.
This visit sets up the climax of the novella at the end of this stave. Moved to an emotional connection to humanity and chastened by his own avarice and isolation by the visits of the first two spirits, Scrooge is horrified by the prospect of a lonely death and by implication a subsequent damnation. In desperation, he queries the ghost:
- “Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?”
- Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.
- “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”
And in an epiphany in which he understands the changes that the visits of the three spirits have wrought in him, Scrooge exclaims:
- "I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope! ... I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”
His transformation complete, Scrooge is ready to re-enter the world of humanity as a changed man as he does in the story's denouement in the final stage.
- In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Christmas Future smokes a cigar, blowing fog all over Scrooge McDuck. After showing Scrooge the grieving Cratchits at Tiny Tim's grave, Christmas Future brings him to a fresh plot being dug by two of the Weasels from Disney's The Wind in the Willows, who mention no mourners attending the funeral nor friends to bid the deceased farewell. Scrooge asks "whose lonely grave is this?" and Christmas Future strikes a match to light up the inscription on the gravestone, which much to Scrooge's horror is revealed to be his own. The ghost subsequently reveals himself to be recurring Disney villain Pete who replies: "Why yours, Ebenezer. The richest man in the cemetery!" As Pete laughs diabolically, he pushes Scrooge into the grave. Scrooge clutches at a vine to keep from falling into his coffin deep below, which belches out smoke and flames leading to Hell. Once Scrooge has the vine breaking off letting him fall into hell, his unseen tormenting body shouts and yells inaudibly, and echoes "I'll change! I'LL CHA-A-ANGE!!!". He wakes suddenly after having fallen out of bed, realizing that he has been given another chance and immediately goes out to spread his newfound cheer.
- In the 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is depicted as a large figure in a tattered black hood, walking Scrooge (played by Michael Caine) slowly to each place he must visit. At the end, when he reveals Scrooge's grave, Scrooge grabs onto the Ghost's robe, saying tearily that he is a changed man, and pleading for another chance. The robes fall away, and Scrooge finds that he is gripping onto his bed-curtains, having returned from his visitations and awoken on Christmas morning.
- In Scrooged, Christmas Future is a shrouded figure with a skull-like television screen for a head and a skeletal hand. When Frank Cross opens this spirit's robe, he sees several undead figures trapped in a ribcage, howling in anguish and bathed in demonic red light. The howling and light immediately stop when Cross closes the robe.
- In John Grin's Christmas, Christmas Future is interpreted by Geoffrey Holder as a variation on his popular 007 villain Baron Samedi (from Live and Let Die).
- In The Mask: The Animated Series episode "Santa Mask", The Mask appears as all three ghosts to Dr. Pretorius after trapping him in a nightmare. As the Ghost of Christmas Future, he is vocal, unlike the original mute Dickens version. He warns the scientist that he will receive a "gift from The Mask", which turns out to be a time bomb.
- In the 1998 animated made-for-television film An All Dogs Christmas Carol, Charlie B. Barkin becomes the ghost, and as a reference to The Mask he appears to Carface Carruthers with a Gospel-style song-and-dance.
- In A Diva's Christmas Carol the ghost is portrayed by a miniature television showing a future episode of Behind the Music, about Ebony Scrooge.
- In A Carol Christmas the ghost is portrayed as an ominous looking chauffeur, played by James Cromwell, uncredited.
- In A Christmas Carol: The Musical a blind old beggar woman Scrooge rebuffs later becomes the ghost.
- Taz (Jim Cummings) portrays the ghost in Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas.
- In the 2009 Disney film A Christmas Carol, the ghost is depicted as a shadow of a huge cloaked figure (usually in place of Scrooge's own shadow), capable of reaching out in physical form, usually to point at something. Though necessary to make Scrooge learn his lesson, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is, unlike in other depictions, more aggressive and even malicious towards him, as the Spirit actively torments Scrooge in ways such as bursting out to knock him over, chasing him from atop a stagecoach pulled by stampeding horses, and shrinking Scrooge down to an extremely small size (particularly when he encounters Old Joe, the fence). In a reference to Mickey's Christmas Carol, his visitation ends with the Ghost revealing on Scrooge's own gravestone that he will die on December 25 of an unspecified (possibly imminent) year, followed by Scrooge falling into an extremely deep grave, seemingly descending all the way to Hell, with a simple pine coffin sitting on top of the glowing red flames. Scrooge falls howling into the coffin, but wakes to find himself tangled up in his bed-curtains, a knot in the wood of his bedroom floor similar in appearance to one in the coffin.
- In "A Little Miracle", a season three episode of the science fiction television series Quantum Leap, the character Al Calavicci dresses in chains and ghostly makeup and appears as a hologram to a greedy industrialist, claiming to be "the Ghost of Christmas Future". The industrialist, at first not believing him, points out that Jacob Marley wore chains, whereas the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come wore "a black robe".
- In The Young and the Restless 2010 episode "Victor's Christmas Carol", the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is portrayed by Colleen Carlton, Victor Newman's goddaughter and heart donor after taken off life support due to drowning. Faithful to the original Dickens story, she is shrouded in a black cloak completely concealing her and never speaks. Later on, Victor figures out for himself who she is and realizes he has been wasting the heart she gave him.
- In Scrooge, the ghost reveals itself to have a frozen, dirty skeletal face underneath the shrouded robes, as well as bony skeletal hands. This sudden change of appearance scares Scrooge into falling backwards down his grave and into Hell.
- In the second part of the Angry Video Game Nerd Christmas Carol story, he is represented by the Dracula sprite from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. He shows the AVGN his own future of playing video games for the Wii. He then shows the nerd his grave stone.
- In the 2008 animated film Barbie in A Christmas Carol, the ghost (Gwynyth Welch) is revealed to be a middle-aged woman in a red dress who shows Eden, her potential future if she does not change her ways. Rather than being shown a vision of her death, the ghost reveals a future where Eden is poor and her friend is a popular, but cruel fashion designer.
See also 
- Ghost of Christmas Past
- Ghost of Christmas Present
- Death (personification)
- A Christmas Carol
- Charles Dickens
- Hearn, Michael P. (1989). The Annotated Christmas Carol / A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; illustrated by John Leech; with an introduction, notes and bibliography by Michael Patrick Hearn. Avenel Books. New York. ISBN 0-517-68780-1.
- Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol (and Other Christmas Writings). Edited introduction by Michael Slater. Penguin Classics