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A Dickens of a Party

Designed by Patricia E. Carbone



You have been invited to a Victorian New Year's Day Party, honoring Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and celebrating the changes that he has made to his life in response to the visits by the three spirits on Christmas Eve.

If you accept this invitation, you must be prepared to leave behind the 21st Century blue jeans, technology, music, and fast food. Attending a party during this time period was very different from today. Prepare yourself well! The more knowledge you have, the more fun you'll have at the party.


Scrooge's nephew, Fred, is hosting a New Year's Day Party to celebrate his uncle's new outlook on life. The revelations of his miserly, miserable past have left Scrooge eager to learn more about those who have helped him to change. In order to accomplish this, Scrooge hopes to understand the values and customs of people he meets in this day-to-day life in Victorian society. Your group will assume the persona of one of Dickens' characters from the story and investigate daily life in Victorian London.

Your preparation will be divided into three stages:

  1. Group Investigative Roles: you'll work with your group to investigate the Victorian time period so that you'll know more about what would happen at a Victorian party.

  2. Individual Characterizations: you'll choose a specific character to portray and prepare yourself for the party by exploring how that character in more detail.

  3. Presentations: you'll portray your character and share information about the person in class during the New Year's Day Party.


Stage One: Group Investigative Roles

In order to connect with the people and places of Dickens' time, you'll investigate four aspects of Victorian life using role cards: history, fashion, etiquette, and entertainment.

Your group will have four investigative roles. Each of you will read and discuss the essential question, take notes from at least two of the provided Web sites, and share the information with the group. You may print pictures to help with your explanation; but your notes must be paraphrased, and bibliographic citations recorded on note cards.

Stage Two: Individual Characterizations

It's time to get ready for the party! You'll choose a character from A Christmas Carol to attend as and using the information you gathered in Stage One with details about the Victorian period that we have viewed and discussed in class, you need to begin making your plans.

Scrooge has spent much of his life ignoring people. Now that he's changed his perspective on life, he wants to get to know more about the people he meets every day. Fred has asked every person who comes to the party to write a short essay that can be presented to the group. You'll leave a copy of the paper for Scrooge to add to a scrapbook that he's creating so that he can read over this information about his new friends after the party.

To prepare for the party, complete the Party Planning Worksheet; then, based on the information that you've gathered, write the first-person essay that you'll present to Fred, Scrooge, and the other guests that tells them all a little more about yourself. Use the Character Sketch Assignment for tips on what to include and organizing your paper. Remember to cite your sources using the MLA format at

Stage Three: Presentations

On the day of the party, bring your page for Scrooge's scrapbook and come to class prepared to portray the character you've chosen. Your presentation can include costumes and props, but must be realistic and believable. After everyone has been introduced to Scrooge and shared a presentation, we'll play Victorian parlor games and listen to traditional Victorian music.


Your work on this project will be evaluated with three rubrics, one for each stage of the process:



Newspaper HeadlineBravo! The Sunday edition of the London Times reports Fred's New Year's Day Party to have been the "social event of the holiday season." The reporter noted that the guest list included society's elite as well as its downtrodden.

The guest of honor, Ebenezer Scrooge, is said to have had such a good time that he will be hosting a New Year's Day Party at his house next year. The Times quoted Scrooge as admitting, "At last, I have learned that to understand mankind requires going beyond the physical appearance and financial means. To really understand people, I need to listen to what they say, watch their actions, and cautiously listen to what others say about them."

You've had a chance to explore these ideas during this WebQuest. By playing one of Dickens' characters, you learned and applied the elements of characterization. You studied what your character looked like, how the character behaved, what the character said, and what others said about your character. Well-done!

Credits & References

Images © 2003

Rubrics Made Using RubiStar.

Based on a template from The WebQuest Page and the information from the WebQuest Design Patterns page.