In A Christmas Carol, why does Scrooge like the darkness?

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Dickens tells us that "Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

The "and" is significant. Dickens doesn't say "Darkness is cheap, so Scrooge liked it." There are, instead, two parts to Scrooge's thinking about darkness. First, and most obviously, it saves him money, which refers to the first part of the statement. The narrator tells us that the entry to his dark house could easily use six gas lamps to light it, and miserly Scrooge would prefer not to spend money on such frivolities.

But it is not simply that darkness is cheap; Scrooge actively likes it. The implication is that even if he were given free lamps and gas, he would choose to sit in darkness.

This embrace of darkness symbolizes Scrooge's choice to live cut off from other people and his own feelings. He finds it easier to live in the darkness of not seeing the suffering and joy going on all around him. His emotions arouse painful feelings, so he prefers to isolate himself from anything that might, metaphorically, light them on fire.

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In the first stave of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge leaves his counting-house and returns to his dark and dismal home. In describing this scene, Dickens suggests Scrooge prefers the darkness to the light for a very specific reason:

Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for that: darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.

In other words, Scrooge likes the darkness because it means he does not have to buy candles. This reflects Scrooge's miserliness, one of his most potent character traits. For Scrooge, accumulating money is the most important aspect of his life and he will do anything to protect his fortune, even if that means living in the dark. Over time, Scrooge has come to accept this darkness as a way of life, but his impending meeting with the ghosts will change this attitude and show him the metaphorical light.

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