Dickens believes Scrooge's solitude is a form of hell. How does Scrooge condemn himself to such a fate before his change of heart?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dickens is effective in conveying how Scrooge has constructed a "solitude" which is emotionally deadening, resembling a frigid form of the inferno.  Naturally, this is communicated in how Scrooge refuses to pay for heat and lighting, living in cold and darkness. This vision of hell is of Scrooge's own choosing, a condition of solitude that he has defined for himself with his beliefs and attitudes towards others.  

Dickens also develops Scrooge's form of being as an issue of self- choice with what Scrooge says.  His attitudes towards the holidays and the simple premise of good will towards others are self- inflicted wounds:

"If I could work my will," said Scrooge, indignantly, "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!"

The fact that Scrooge spits so much venom towards those who enjoy the spirit of the holidays and the spirit of connection with others reflects how Dickens feels Scrooge's solitude is reflective of a personal hell.  When Scrooge speaks of how people should "die" in order to reduce "the surplus population," it is another reminder how the Scrooge's solitude is actually chaining him, preventing him from finding happiness.  While Scrooge might believe that happiness is there, the chains he sees enveloping Marley's ghost is reflective of the chains that Scrooge has forged in his own solitude, preventing him from finding any form of happiness in his life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial