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You are watching: Describe the ghost of christmas past

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To begin, the ghost was "like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man." The spirit seems to embody the innocence of children and yet possesses the wisdom associated with age: two things we typically do not think of as going together. Usually as we...




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To begin, the ghost was "like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man." The spirit seems to embody the innocence of children and yet possesses the wisdom associated with age: two things we typically do not think of as going together. Usually as we gain wisdom, we lose our innocence. The ghost has long, white hair that hangs down its back, but the "tenderest bloom" on the skin. Its arms are "long and muscular," as though it has a great deal of strength, and yet its legs are "delicately formed." The spirit is certainly a strange combination of old and young. It also wears a tunic of white—again, as if to symbolize its purity and innocence—trimmed with "summer flowers," and it carries a "branch of fresh green holly."

Even more curious is that "from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light," and he carries "a great extinguisher" as a hat. An extinguisher is the small bell-shaped apparatus, usually at the end of a long stick, which one would use to snuff out a candle by placing the bell over the flame and depriving it of air. Finally, Scrooge seems to notice that

its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body

In other words, it sounds an awful lot like the spirit flickers, like a candle flame, and given the light that comes out of its head and the fact that it carries an extinguisher for a hat, the spirit seems in many ways to resemble a candle. Thus, it embodies all ages, all seasons, and one of the major symbols of goodness and joy in the text: light.