How Is Scrooge Presented As An Outsider

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which quotes suggest that Scrooge is presented as an "outsider" or a "social outcast"?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Early in the chapter, the narrator says, "Oh!  But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!  Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster."  In other words, Scrooge is stingy and tough: he has no sympathy or generosity or compassion.  Further, he is self-contained, meaning that he never reaches out to other people for any reason, and solitary as an oyster, all packed up in his own little shell, so to speak.  At the very least, this would make him an outsider.

Moreover, the narrator explains, "External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge.  No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him.  No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty."  To say that Scrooge could be made neither warm nor cold by any outside influence again paints him as an outcast.  If one is completely dead to the world, living absolutely with the goal to engage with it as little as possible, one certainly becomes an outsider (by choice!). 

Finally, the narrator says that Scrooge likes it this way, "To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge."  He prefers to keep to the edges of society, away from the crowds or anyone who might reach out to him, away from the likelihood of having to speak to or engage with another person.  Again, he's very much an outsider and is treated as an outcast as a result.

kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is presented as a miserly old man, who is a social outcast and is quite happy to be one, at least in the beginning. His only concern is the amount of money he can make for himself. Near the beginning of the book, as we are being introduced to Scrooge, we read,

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him, and when they saw him coming on would tug their owners into doorways and up courts, and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'" (Dickens 3)

Ebenezer Scrooge obviously has a reputation, and nobody wants to be around him. He is cold and greedy, not the kind of man people want to befriend. He even turns down his own nephew who comes to see him and invite him to his house for a Christmas meal. His answer is, "Bah! Humbug!" Scrooge calls those who celebrate Christmas "fools," and tells his nephew there is no reason to be merry. Though his nephew tries to convince him to join his family, Scrooge replies, "Nephew, keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine!" (Dickens 6)

Scrooge is an outsider because that is the way he likes it. He prefers his own miserable company to that of anyone else.

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A Christmas Carol

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