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

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jeffclark eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.