What happens in Stave 2 of A Christmas Carol?

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In Stave 2 of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge gets a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, who shows him his lonely childhood and a later time when he was happy, before all he cared about was money.

At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to the vile old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge.  In Stave 2, we find out how he got that way.  Scrooge’s old partner Marley arranges for him to have a visit by three ghosts, who will show him the effects of his behavior.

In Stave 2, he is taken back to his boyhood.  We see Scrooge as a lonely little boy whose father abandoned him at school. 

“The school is not quite deserted,” said the Ghost. “A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still.” (ch 2)

One day his sister arrives to take him home, and life gets a little better for young Scrooge.  He is apprenticed to the jolly Fezzywig, who has parties at Christmastime.  Scrooge even gets engaged, to the lovely Belle.

Unfortunately, Scrooge does not stay on the path to happiness.  Still poor, he begins to worry more about money than love.  As he gets richer and richer, he gets lonlier.  Belle sees this change in him.

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.” (ch 2)

She is aware that Scrooge is more concerned with money than with love.

So Scrooge ends up alone, as the grumpy old miser we meet in the beginning of the book.  He was clearly stunted by the lack of emotional sensitivity he had as a child, but in the end it was his choices that made him lost.