Did Scrooge actively or consciously choose to be the way he was at the beginning of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens?    

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Yes, he did. Scrooge felt himself to be shut out and excluded from his family, his schoolmates, and his friends as he was growing up. He took refuge and comfort at these times by pulling within himself.

As a young man, he made his final choice to follow the pattern of life when he allowed his fiance to break their engagement. She felt that Scrooge's loyalties had shifted from her to the making of money, and she was unwilling to continue to try to fight that drive and hold him back from his efforts.

"Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve." "What idol has displaced you?" he rejoined. "A golden one."

In the years following that discussion, Scrooge isolated himself more and more completely from human emotion and contact, taking his comfort from the accumulation of wealth and the avoidance of spending it. "To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance" consumed his existence.

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