With the holiday season on the horizon, it’s time to dust off one of Charles Dickens’s classic works, A Christmas Carol. The novella is short, sharply written, and packs a punch—it’s definitely worth the read. For a deeper dive, consider reading our annotated text.
With countless movie, TV, and play adaptations, A Christmas Carol has become a holiday staple. At the center of the story is the unforgettable Ebenezer Scrooge, an old money-lender who is so greedy and stingy that his name has entered the lexicon as a synonym for “miser.” We suspect that Ebenezer Scrooge is the biggest curmudgeon in the history of the universe. Here’s why:
1.) Dogs Dislike Him
When Ebenezer Scrooge walks down the streets of London, dogs wag their tails in disapproval and guide their masters in the opposite direction. Anyone with any sense knows that dogs are the best judges of character. With their canine intuition, dogs sniff out the malevolence of Scrooge’s soul.
2.) He Criticizes Christmas
Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!
When Christmas comes, Scrooge can’t see what all the fuss is for. His nephew tries to raise some good cheer, but all Scrooge wants to raise is his bank balance. He fails to see how all the poor folk of London, including his nephew and his clerk, could have anything to be happy about. To Scrooge, the holidays are a headache.
3.) He’s a Human Humbug
Scrooge is known for his signature saying: “Bah! Humbug!” Any annoyance, nuisance, or promise of company that crosses his path is met with a resounding “Humbug!” The word refers to acts of trickery and fraudulent people. The great irony is that Scrooge comes to realize that he is the biggest humbug of all.
4.) He Loathes Love
Because you fell in love!’ growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. ‘Good afternoon!
Not only does Scrooge avoid all human affection, he believes love is downright foolish. He cannot understand why his nephew or his clerk would choose to get married, let alone for love. Read the whole story to find out how Scrooge got to be such an unloving old crank.
5.) He’s the Greediest of Grouches
When a pair of men come to Scrooge’s door to ask for charitable donations for starving children, Scrooge proposes that the poor go to prison or the workhouses. Or that they could just die and “decrease the surplus population.” Later, he compares paying his clerk on Christmas to having his pockets picked. Scrooge is a real piece of work.
6.) He’s So Cold, He Has His Own Microclimate
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. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him…
Now that we’ve dissected Scrooge’s character and found every flaw, we should step back and remember that everyone deserves a chance to change. In fact, as A Christmas Carol unfolds, redemption becomes the main theme of the story as Ebenezer Scrooge goes for a rollercoaster ride of moral education and painful self-analysis. Only at the start of the story is Scrooge the biggest curmudgeon in the history of the universe. To find out whether he changes, you’ll have to read A Christmas Carol for yourself.