The Allure of Ebenezer Scrooge

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

scrooge-1970-albert-finney

With the holidays so close, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favorite characters in literature: A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge. I’d bet he’s a favorite character throughout the world.

Scrooge is slightly more despicable than Mitt Romney. Early in A Christmas Carol he tells a couple of do-gooders that the poor should die and “reduce the surplus population.” But unlike Romney, we laugh at Scrooge’s penny-pinching ways. For all his verboseness, he’s vulnerable. A crotchety, bent-over little man who cowers at his own indigestion, even though he suspects it’s the ghost of his former business partner.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past appears, the reader discovers that Scrooge has a good reason for being miserable. He had an unfortunate childhood, without the love of his parents. He was even separated from his sister during Christmas. A few years later he lost the love of his life, Belle, on Christmas Eve. To compensate for his losses, he stopped caring about human beings. The only thing that gave him comfort was money.

The Ghost of Christmas Present stops by for a visit and illustrates how Scrooge’s life has adversely affected those around him. Scrooge’s only employee, Bob Cratchit, lives in poverty. His youngest son is dying and he can’t afford medicine. His oldest daughter must live away from home in order to make money for the family.

Mrs. Cratchit can’t stand Scrooge. Neither can anybody else in town. But through it all, everyone seems to have a kindly heart, and hopes Scrooge changes his evil ways.

Unfortunately, it takes the Ghost of Christmases-yet-to-come to change Scrooge. They go to his deathbed, and find that the only people there are out to steal his personal belongings. Even his bed curtains. That’s the clincher for Scrooge, and he changes. He learns “how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”

Who wouldn’t feel fondness for a character like Scrooge?

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