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A Christmas Carol is foremost a Christian allegory of redemption about, as Fred says, the "kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time" of Christmas. Scrooge is a skinflint businessman who represents the greediest impulses of Victorian England's rich. He subscribes to the guidelines of the Poor Laws, which oppress the underclass, and has no warmth in his spirit for anything but money. Cratchit is the underclass's representative, a humble, powerless man who has no choice but to kowtow to his employer's demands.
Yet underneath the simple Christian allegory, Dickens investigates the complicated nature of time in a capitalist system. The references to signifiers of time are numerous in the chapter; the bells ring to herald Marley's arrival, and even the repetitive discussion of Marley's death at the beginning emphasizes the present tense in which Scrooge is stuck.