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How and why does the character of Scrooge change?

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How and why does the character of Scrooge change? In this essay, I am going to analyse the changes in the character of Scrooge in the novel 'A Christmas Carol'. 'A Christmas Carol' is the story of how Ebenezer Scrooge changed from a moneygrabbing man who cared for, and was cared for by, no one, to a caring, loving and generous individual. This story was written by the esteemed writer Charles Dickens, and after being published in 1843, 'A Christmas Carol' became one of his most famous pieces of literature. The story deals extensively with one of Dickens' perennial themes - poverty, and its causes and effects; however the origins of this story lie in Dickens' anger about how society was developing - an everyone for himself attitude. To achieve my aim in showing how and why the character of Scrooge changed, I will analyse his behaviour at the start of the novel, and at the end, while commenting on how and why any changes in his character occur. Dickens uses a variety of language to enable the reader to build up a distinctive image of Scrooge at the very beginning of the story. Dickens uses a list-like format to define every detail about Scrooge. Scrooge is described as a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!" The repeated, rhythmic use of verbs, which are all negative, and onomatopoeic phrases, emphasises the harshness, miserliness, and negativity of Scrooge's nature; the rhythmic cycle of words also gives the impression that this list of negatives could go on forever. Dickens then uses similes and metaphors to compare Scrooge to objects that people can recognise; Scrooge is "Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out a generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice." ...read more.


To Scrooge the light is terrifying, as he believes it will show events, and other things he does not want to be exposed to. Scrooge, suddenly realises how vulnerable and helpless he is; he "clasped its robe in supplication" ; supplication is a prayer for help, which he desperately needs, and in effect, is asking the Spirit for. The Spirit treats Scrooge kindly; when Scrooge enquires "what business brought him there", the Spirit exclaims - "Your welfare!". In this context, the exclamation mark emphasises the Spirit's great desire to aid him. Also, in sharp contrast to the usual way Scrooge is looked at, the Spirit "gazed upon him mildly"; in the Spirit's eyes Scrooge should not be judged but helped, and the Spirit understands his pitiful situation. First of all, the Spirit of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his childhood, since this time must have had a large effect on how Scrooge has developed. Scrooge begins to show real emotion, "'Your lip is trembling' said the Ghost... And what is that upon your cheek'", and breaks out of his usual behaviour "To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects, in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying and to see his heightened and excited face; would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city". In this way, the Spirit is trying to make Scrooge regret what he has missed, and to begin to want to feel again: "These sights and memories 'fell upon the heart of Scrooge with softening influence and gave a freer passage to his tears'". Scrooge's curtain of self-protection has begun to fall. After this ordeal Scrooge is whisked away to see his old employer, Fezziwig, with whom he has obviously shared some happy memories. At this point, Scrooge shows affection for the very first time in the novel: "Bless his heart!". ...read more.


I'm quite a baby". The weather itself has changed to reflect Scrooge's transition; "No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial" has replaced the earlier"very foggy and extremely cold" - a good example of pathetic fallacy. Christmas had been anathema, an irritant, and annoyance to Scrooge, however now he greets it with the joy of a child "It's Christmas Day! ... I haven't missed it." . He despised giving, and especially had no regard for the poor - "Hard and sharp as flint", but now he generously treats a passing boy to more than an average week's wage as a tip for a large gift directed at the Cratchits: the Prize Turkey! He takes pleasure and amusement from this, and "chuckled till he cried." . He shouts "Merry Christmas" to everyone he meets: how unlike the Scrooge of the beginning of the novel, who uttered "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be ... buried with a stake of holly through his heart". Instead of generally avoiding anything living, Scrooge almost leaps out into the street to make amends to everyone he meets. He asks the Portly Gentleman "Will you come and see me" - he is actually requesting company, a thing he used to detest "Self-contained and solitary as an oyster". This theme is continued as he visits his Nephew Fred. Scrooge is now affectionate to everyone he meets, calling Fred's servant girl "my love"; before he was cold and self-centred. He stays, and exclaims "Wonderful party, wonderful games, wonderful unanimity, won-der-ful happiness!". The alliteration and repetition of "wonderful" conveys Scrooge's sweet excitement, while the partitioned "won-der-ful" just reemphasises his feeling. Scrooge is now mischievous and playful, whereas formerly he was suspicious and cruel, when he tries to catch Bob Cratchit arriving late at work. "Now I'll tell you my friend... I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer... therefore I am about to raise your salary!". "In fact Scrooge adopted Bob Cratchit's family; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father". ...read more.

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