Question: How does the personality of Ebenezer Scrooge develop during the novel “A Christmas Carol”?
In this essay I am going to distinguish the personality changes of Ebenezer Scrooge in the novel, “A Christmas Carol”; who was once a miserly, lonely businessman but became a generous, respected, kind man. I will divide the changes into stages providing evidences shown throughout the story. (From the first meeting with Jacob Marley to the three Christmas spirits) Charles Dickens wrote this novel “A Christmas Carol” under the background of 19th Century England. It was the period just after the Industrial Revolution when lots of people in England were suffering through poverty and poor living conditions. Immiseration in London was serious therefore I suggest Charles Dickens were trying to draw attention to the plight of the poor and to encourage the wealthy to support those who were suffering through this book, “A Christmas Carol”.
The main character, Scrooge, was a wealthy old man who owned his own business; however he was an extremely stingy man. As the name of the business tells the reader, “Scrooge and Marley’s”, we know Marley was a very good friend as well as a partner of Scrooge. “Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name.” Charles Dickens had therefore hinted to readers that this cold hearted man would not even pay to have his partner’s name painted out. “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand”. The lines from his employees also felt his miserly ways, “could External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge…” In the first few pages, the reader already comprehend the character of Scrooge in their mind. He was such a horrible person who didn’t care about anyone else, “Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal.” Scrooge as is mentioned a lot of times in the book was a penny-pinching person. He didn’t even want to spend a little money to comfort his clerk, Bob. No doubt, other people’s impression was the same as his nephew called him, “dismal and morose”, partly because this old man never celebrated Christmas. I suggest that Charles Dickens wanted to portray Scrooge as an extreme – absolutely selfish and heartless; so that comparing the personality to the end of the novel, it could create a major effect regarding the reaction to the book from the readers. Charles Dickens started the story with an odd simple sentence, “Marley was dead, to begin with.” It is quite an unusual beginning as it seems there is not much direct correlation to the later development of the story. Yet this leads into the first visit of Jacob Marley to Scrooge. We understand this as it mentioned, “There is no doubt whatever about that” Marley is definitely not alive, but then he walks into Scrooge home! Charles Dickens made sure the readers knew Marley was a ghost, something supernatural; cleverly informing us that this section is a critical part of the story, where we can establish the initial changes in Scrooge’s personality. We can argue that Scrooge was disbelieving of what he saw and experienced, “It’s humbug still!” or “I won’t believe it”, even though his incredulous and dismissive to Marley couldn’t cover his fears and shock, “H….”. It was not humbug anymore! He was starting to believe. The word “humbug” is still widely used in England nowadays because of this book “A Christmas Carol”. It means “rubbish” or “a lie”. It was Scrooges catch phrase and consequently, his inability to express us shows that Scrooge is already changing.
When the Ghost of Christmas Past comes to Scrooge, we go back in time and see Scrooge’s childhood, the time when he was once a gentle fellow. Charles Dickens shows us Scrooge’s excitement and happiness when he met his old school friends and his sister (Fan) and his going back home at Christmas Day,”Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them?”. “Scrooge sat down…and wept to see his poor forgotten...