Dickens also uses the festival of Christmas to his advantage as it is a time for kindness and giving, so dickens creates Scrooge to an exact contrast of them two things. Scrooge is described in the novel as “Tight-fisted hand at the grindstone”, “a squeezing, and wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as a flint, from which no steel had ever stuck out a generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. ” This description of Scrooge emphasises what Dickens is trying to get across to the reader.
The last bit of this description is the most important, “Solitary as an oyster” because an oyster is hard on the outside but inside it contains a pearl which symbolises that it is what’s on the inside that counts. Scrooge works in a business by himself although it was once a joint business with Jacob Marley who died 7 years to date before the novel was set, Scrooge therefore took over the business and is now very wealthy. Dickens creates Scrooge in this way so that he can get his point across to the reader by how Scrooge acts and how he treats people who are not as wealthy as himself.
Scrooge treats everyone disrespectfully and he is a misanthropist which is someone who hates people in general. The way that Dickens creates Scrooge brings the problem that Dickens is trying to solve to the attention of the reader and they immediately understand what Dickens is describing the problem as because of Scrooge. In the first stave the first person that Scrooge comes into contact with is his clerk Bob Cratchit who was a very under paid worker that Scrooge had employed.
From the moment dickens describes the relationship between Scrooge and the clerk it is clear to the reader that Scrooge thinks he is superior to Cratchit because of the money that Scrooge has. Dickens quotes “Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal, but he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal box in his own room” this is just one example of how Scrooge treats his clerk as he could not find the simple generosity inside him to give his hard working clerk some coal.
Also when the clerk is leaving for the night on Christmas Eve he has a conversation with Mr Cratchit. Cratchit asks for the day off tomorrow which is Christmas Day and Scrooge is very reluctant to let him have the day off. Scrooge quotes; “A poor excuse for picking a mans pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning! ” This is an example of how badly treated Mr Cratchit is by Scrooge not only is he underpaid for how much hard work he puts in he also has only one holiday a year that even then his boss is reluctant to let him have the day off.
This is Dickens being clever and using Cratchit to his advantage by making the reader feel sympathy for Cratchit by how Scrooge treats him so that Dickens can tell the reader through there relationship that the poor needed to be treated better or with more compassion. During the first stave Scrooge is visited by two charity collectors when he is at his place of work. This scene in the book is a key one because Scrooges actions during this scene are to some extent evil. The charity collector is asking whether Scrooge could donate some money to those who are not as wealthy as himself.
Scrooge becomes tense during this scene and quotes; “I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas, and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there. ” This quote is showing the reader how shockingly tight Scrooge is with his money and how unkind he is during a festive season of the year. The charity collector says that “Many can’t go there, many would rather die.
” This quote is supposed to make Scrooge feel a fragment of sympathy for these poor people but no Scrooge replies. “If they would rather die they had better do it and decrease the surplus population. Besides – excuse me – I don’t know that”. This is an example of an evil quote from Scrooge and this is probably as dreadful as it gets. This quote is a key quote as it describes exactly how cold Scrooge is but also later on in the novel is used against him successfully. Also in the first stave Scrooge has a conversation with his nephew who is one of his only living relatives.
The nephew is described as very warm and light an example of this is: “He has so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge’s, that he was all in glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again” The words ‘heated, glow and sparkled are key in this description as they work with the novel as the novel works through symbolism. Scrooge is associated with: Cold, Hard and Dark and his nephew is a contrast of this as he is described as Warm and Light.