These two extracts describe Scrooge as cold, and that he has no head, like a corpse, making the reader have a disliking to him straight away. Stave one also teaches us about Scrooge’s personality and behaviour in many ways. The first indication of his behaviour indeed comes from the fact that he did not care for his friend’s funeral, and would even strike a business deal on the same day, which shows how tight and uncaring he is. This is reinforced when we find out he owns a counting house, which reflects Scrooge’s nature and how possessive he is over his money.
We also read about Scrooge’s relationship with his clerk, Bob Cratchitt, in which Scrooge acts coldly too him, almost not letting the employee to have Christmas day off, the time of love, care, family and festiveness. This supports that fact that Scrooge has a selfish and callous behaviour to his employees and also to family and charity workers, which is also portrayed in the first stave. The first example of Scrooge’s insensitive behaviour towards family is from the arrival of Scrooge’s nephew, who is the complete contrast of the main character.
His nephew is into the festive spirit, in love and happy. His description also differs greatly from his uncle’s; ‘his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled’, showing that his approach towards Christmas is far different to that of Scrooge’s. The arrival of Fred, his nephew, leads Scrooge to say ‘Bah! Humbug’, which becomes his catchphrase, and is the complete opposite to Christmas and what it stands for, and is also the complete opposite to the title. In this first stave, we see the arrival of Marley’s Ghost, the remnants of Scrooge’s late friend.
His visit is in order to tell Scrooge to share his money by saying ‘and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness’. This, along with the quote also said by Marley; ‘No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse’, are the messages to Scrooge by Marley. They say that, if Scrooge does not want to end up like his friend, chained to the earth in his chain for eternity, he must learn to be more caring and remorseful, and to share his money. The chain is also symbolic in the story because it represents the fact that Marley is trapped as a spectre on the earth.
The chain is made out of ‘cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel’. This description represents why Marley is being chained to the earth, and pushes the message to Scrooge that, if he does not change, he will end up in the same situation in his death, but with a much longer chain, for he would have had more time to build it up. It also represents all the devious and callous behaviour both men had, and still have, around their loved one, and how tight they are and were around their money. It shows that Scrooge will pay for his sins, but that he still has time to reverse the effect.
Stave two, entitled ‘The First of the Three Spirits’, tells the story of Christmas past, and is the first journey and lesson Scrooge has in the novel. Firstly in the stave, Dickens creates the atmosphere which, like the first stave, is an eerie one. The description of the mood of the stave is also created using pathetic fallery; ‘it was still very foggy and extremely cold, and that there was no noise of people running to and fro, and making a great stir’, which reinforces to mood set in the first stave, and the sinister atmosphere that was also portrayed.
Another way pathetic fallery is used to portray the atmosphere is through the quote ‘an icicle must have got into the works’, which supports the use of pathetic fallery by using the weather to portray that, as well as the other conditions, it is also cold, casting an unpleasant feeling on Scrooge and the reader. Another way that Dickens creates this eerie atmosphere is through the use of repetition. The time ‘twelve’ is repeated constantly through out paragraph two, deepening the feeling of the darkness of the night, and strengthening the eerie atmosphere that Dickens is trying to portray.
Also, the fact that twelve o’ clock is the witching hour makes both the reader and Scrooge apprehensious on what is to come because of the atmosphere that is created. Also, the use of time is used again, to make the time seem slower and therefore making Scrooge more anxious on what is to come. This time, the examples are more spaced out every quarter of an hour, adding more eeriness onto the stave because of the great time difference, and greater apprehension.
In the second stave, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his old school, where he spent a lonely and solitary childhood. It describes the young Scrooge that we see as a ‘lonely boy’ sitting near a ‘feeble fire’, reading alone at Christmas time. This evokes sympathy from the reader and makes us feel sorry for him in this festive season. This then leads onto the next episode at the same school, with the same, slightly older Scrooge, who is still young, and is still alone. In this second episode, the young Scrooge is no longer reading, but is pacing, anxiously looking at the door.
A little while later, the young Scrooge is greeted by a little girl, his younger sister who will eventually die, who greets him by putting her arms around his neck, and addressing him as ‘Dear, dear brother’. She has greeted him to take him home. She carries the promise of a happier and merrier Christmas, the news of which did not disappoint the young Scrooge, which contradicts the actions of the Scrooge that we know presently, indicating that future episodes will bring a change to Scrooge, his personality, and his attitude toward Christmas.
In the next episode, the Ghost shows Scrooge his first workplace and his old boss, Mr. Fezziwig. It shows Scrooge as a young man, with some of his co-workers, setting up for a Christmas ball. Scrooge was enthusiastic and willing to work for the sake of working and not just for the money. It also shows the younger Scrooge acting like ‘a man out of his wits’ and that ‘his heart and soul were in the scene’. Again, this Scrooge contradicts the present day Scrooge, like in the previous episode, and leaves the reader confused and curious as to how Scrooge became so bitter.
The fourth episode, however, throws some light onto some events that changed Scrooge for the worst. In this episode, he isn’t alone, but with his fianci?? , and it is obvious that, even though it is Christmas, it is not a happy occasion, for the young girl is crying, and they are discussing their relationship, and we can tell that Scrooge’s obsession with money is starting, yet is proving the end of the relationship. She says how money has become the preferred option for Scrooge, and that he is not the man she fell in love with.
The reader throughout the episodes has a different reaction toward each Scrooge. For example, in the first episode, the reader feels sorry for Scrooge, being alone at Christmas, yet the attitude changes from delight to see a happier Scrooge in the ‘Fezziwig’ scene, to a dislike in the last scene for not being prepared to fight for his fianci?? over his money. However, the reader might be surprised of Scrooge’s conduct before Mr. Fezziwig’s ball. This is because he was working because he wanted to, and not just the collect more money.
He also seems enthusiastic in the thought of the Christmas ball. He also seems keen to co-operate with other co-workers which, at the beginning of the novel, seemed unlike behaviour of Scrooge. It is clear to the reader in this stave that Scrooge slowly changes with time. He begins as an innocent small boy alone at Christmas, and then becomes more loving to people willing to be around him, until his desire to succeed overtakes his love for his fellow people. After this, his love is then directed at gaining and collecting money.
The worst change that occurs to Scrooge is the change from the fun and loving Scrooge at the Christmas party, who had just entered his first job, to the callous man who prefers money over love, and would prefer to invest in business over family. It is now obvious to the reader as to how and why Scrooge is the man he is currently, especially around the Christmas season and why he is so bitter. Despite this it is unclear as to how he changed from loving to bitter after only one episode.
It is not only the reader that gets affected by the events that we see in the episodes, but the current day Scrooge also gets affected. At the beginning of his journey, we can tell that he doesn’t want to change from the quote that says ‘Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered’. Yet that attitude is not there for long. In the first episode, as the jocund travellers went by, Scrooge took delight in naming every one, which contradicted the actions of Scrooge a few minutes ago.
Also in the first episode, after the Spectre describes the young Scrooge as ‘a solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still’, the older Scrooge sobs at it, because he knew it was true. This shows that Scrooge is still haunted by the Ghosts of his past, influencing his bitter behaviour towards Christmas. He also weeps ‘to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be’. In the second episode, after naming lots of people that he knew, like in the first episode, he looks back remorsefully, which seems unusual in itself, on the young Christmas Caroller he turned away the night before, and quotes ‘I wish,…