How does Dickens present Scrooge's character in chapter 1?

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In stave one, Ebenezer Scrooge is depicted as an extremely cold, callous businessman who is insensitive, cold-hearted, and miserly. Dickens vividly describes Ebenezer Scrooge by writing,

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. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.

Scrooge's character is synonymous with the cold, frigid environment, and his features seem to highlight his miserable, unfriendly demeanor. Dickens further characterizes Scrooge as a bitter, callous man by revealing how the citizens of London go out of their way to avoid him in the street. Even animals purposely avoid Scrooge and never make eye contact with him.

Scrooge is further characterized as a greedy, solitary man during his interactions with his nephew and with his employee, Bob Cratchit. Scrooge rejects his nephew's offer to celebrate Christmas, threatens to fire his employee, and dismisses the two gentlemen collecting holiday donations to the poor. Dickens's portrayal of Scrooge's unfriendly, miserly personality only emphasizes his remarkable transformation after he is visited by three spirits that night. By the end of the story, Scrooge has transformed into a loving, charismatic, friendly man who is generous, warm, and hospitable.

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Ebeneezer Scrooge is probably one of the most famous characters in English Literature. Very few people do not understand a reference to "Scrooge" and they immediately associate with him the idea of a miserly, grumpy old penny pincher.

Dickens, layer by layer, builds this impression of him from the very outset. Perhaps the earliest indication of this aspect of his character comes from the fact, revealed in the early part of the story, that he will not heat his own home in spite of being the owner of a business and obviously able to do so. When he gets to his place of business the same idea is reinforced when he refused to allow Bob Cratchitt any extra coal to increase the heat in the office.

From the very first word Dickens paints an undeniable picture of this type of character without ever revealing the reason behind it. The only hint will come later in the vision of the schoolhouse during his visit with the Ghost of Christmas Present.

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