How does Scrooge try to extinguish the light? Does he succeed?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of the first stave, Scrooge attempts to put out the Ghost of Christmas Past's light by taking the extinguisher cap by force and pressing it down on the ghost's head. Scrooge's effort, however, is unsuccessful:

"But though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force, he could not hide the light, which streamed from under it, in an unbroken flood upon the ground."

Scrooge's attempt to extinguish the light is an important part in this stave. It is a metaphor for Scrooge's character in which the light represents the process of change. After seeing some painful images of his past, specifically his time at school and the end of his engagement to Belle, he can no longer deny the negative aspects of his character. He has no choice but to accept that he has done wrong and that he must now make amends by reforming his personality and improving his relationships with others. Like the light which shines in an "unbroken flood," Scrooge is now committed to changing his life and cannot go back to the way things were. 

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