Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol)

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"Tiny Tim" Cratchit
A Christmas Carol character
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim Cratchit as depicted in an illustration by Fred Barnard
Created by Charles Dickens
Portrayed by See below
Nickname(s) Tiny Tim
Gender Male
Family Bob (father)
Unnamed mother
Martha, Bilinda, Peter, Unnamed sister, Unnamed brother (siblings)

Timothy Cratchit, called "Tiny Tim", is a fictional character from the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. He is a minor character, the young son of Bob Cratchit, and is seen only briefly, but serves as an important symbol of the consequences of the protagonist's choices.

Character overview[edit]

When Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by The Ghost of Christmas Present he is shown just how ill the boy really is, and that he will die unless he receives treatment (which the family cannot afford on the salary Scrooge pays Cratchit). When visited by The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Scrooge sees that Tiny Tim has died. This, and several other visions, lead Scrooge to reform his ways. At the end of the story, Dickens makes it explicit that Tiny Tim does not die, and Scrooge becomes a "second father" to him.

In the story, Tiny Tim is known for the statement, "God bless us, everyone!" which he offers as a blessing at Christmas dinner. Dickens repeats the phrase at the end of the story; this is symbolic of Scrooge's change of heart.

Character development[edit]

It has been claimed that the character is based on the son of a friend of Dickens who owned a cotton mill in Ardwick, Manchester.[1] However, Dickens had two brothers both with "Fred" in the name; a younger called Frederick and an older named Alfred. Alfred died young.[2] Dickens tried other names such as "Tiny Mick" after "Little Fred" but eventually decided upon "Tiny Tim".[2]

Also, Dickens had a sister named Fanny who had a disabled son named Henry Burnett Jr.[3] Tiny Tim did not take his name from Fanny's child, but the actual aspects of Tiny Tim's character are taken from Henry Burnett Jr.[3]

Later, after dropping the name "Little Fred" Dickens instead named Scrooge's nephew "Fred".[2]


Dickens did not explicitly say what Tiny Tim's illness was. However, renal tubular acidosis (a type of kidney failure causing the blood to become acidic) has been proposed as one possibility,[4] another being rickets (caused by a lack of Vitamin D).[4][5][6] Either illness was treatable during Dickens' lifetime, thus following in line with the comment of the Ghost of Christmas Present that Tiny Tim would die only if the present remain unchanged.

Notable actors who portrayed Tiny Tim[edit]

The former child actor Dennis Holmes played the role of Tiny Tim on Ronald W. Reagan's General Electric Theater in the 1957 episode "The Trail to Christmas". Kevin Hagen portrayed the ghost and John McIntire played Scrooge in the western-themed episode.[7]

The role of Tiny Tim has been performed (live action, voiced or animated) by, among others:


  1. ^ Seacock, Doug. "Charles Dickens - writing from life". Egypt Cotton Times. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  2. ^ a b c Leigh Cowan, Alison. A 166-Year-Old Manuscript Reveals Its Secrets, New York Times, December 24, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Perdue, David. David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page, accessed December 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1340779
  5. ^ Lewis D (1992). "What was wrong with Tiny Tim?". Am J Dis Child 146 (12): 1403–7. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160240013002. PMID 1340779. 
  6. ^ "What Ailed Tiny Tim". Time. 1992-12-28. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  7. ^ ""The Trail to Christmas" on General Electric Theater, December 15, 1957". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 

External links[edit]