In A Christmas Carol, how does Dickens depict Scrooge as an outsider?   

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scrooge is depicted as an outsider from the very beginning of A Christmas Carol. This is clearly shown in the opening of stave one when Dickens talks about Scrooge's reputation in the neighborhood. People did not stop him in the street and chat, for instance, nor did any children ever stop him to ask for the time. Scrooge is, therefore, not connected to the people of his community, existing instead on the fringes of society. 

Later, Dickens depicts  Scrooge as an outsider through his attitude to the poor.  When the charity collectors come to call, Dickens paints a strong contrast between Scrooge and these two men. Scrooge, for example, is a staunch opponent of giving money to charity. Moreover, he believes that poor people belong in "prisons" and "workhouses." In contrast, the two men believe in helping those less fortunate than themselves, especially at Christmas. Such an attitude, then, depicts Scrooge as an outsider since he has no interest in supporting his fellow citizens.

Dickens also depicts Scrooge as an outsider through his descriptions of Scrooge's home. Scrooge lives in a "gloomy suite of rooms," for example, which are devoid of any other inhabitants. By placing Scrooge in such an environment, Dickens emphasizes the idea that Scrooge has ostracized himself from society and has no connection with those around him.

Together, these methods are effective in helping the reader to understand Scrooge's character and, more importantly, establishes why he needs the help of the three ghosts.