How does Scrooge react to the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol?

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Scrooge has several reactions during his visit from the ghost of Christmas past. At his first stop, the school he attended as a boy, he realizes how lonely he was and he is surprised that he was so interested in adventure stories like Robinson Crusoe. At the second stop, Scrooge realizes the importance of celebration when he visits Fezziwig, a man he worked for when he was young. Fezziwig celebrates Christmas by having music, dancing and food provided at his office. He tells the ghost:

"He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome, a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up, what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune."

Finally, Scrooge is saddened when he is taken to the scene when Belle, a girl to whom he was engaged, breaks the engagement because all Scrooge does is work. He then sees Belle married to another man and happy and asks the ghost to take him home.

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge events of his childhood and young adulthood that make him sad.  As an older man, he is shown the images of his choices as a young man when he lost the love of Belle, the woman who left him when his ambition to be wealthy became more important than everything else in his life. 

She recognized even then, when he was a young man, that he would turn into a man who was driven by the desire for material wealth and that he would put her and his family second, coldly.  She released him from his promise to her.   

Scrooge is now an old man, who has lived a lonely life in a cold house with no warmth, no family, no wife, and no children.  He has money, but nothing else.  He is a miserable man.  When he sees Belle, he remembers what it felt like to be in love.     

When the Ghost of Christmas Past shows these events to Scrooge, he is deeply saddened; he cannot bear to look at himself as a young and foolish man who let love slip away.

"'Spirit!' said Scrooge, 'show me no more! Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?'" (Dickens)