How do Scrooge and his nephew portray opposite opinions?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scrooge and his nephew portray opposite opinions through their feelings about Christmas. This is shown in the first stave when they are discussing the purpose and meaning of Christmas. For Fred, Christmas is a time for making "merry" and for unity in society, as he expresses through the following line:

(The) only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.

In contrast, Scrooge's attitude towards Christmas can be summed up by the phrase "bah humbug." For him, Christmas is a pointless celebration because it makes people a "year older" but not an "hour richer." Moreover, he would like to see those who celebrate the season buried with a "stake of holly" through the heart.

This stave also demonstrates the difference in their opinions on making money. For Fred, Christmas does not enrich him ("it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket"), but he still believes it must be celebrated. This derives from the fact that Fred is neither materialistic nor greedy by nature. Scrooge, however, detests Christmas because it costs him money and, therefore, threatens his financial status:

What's Christmas time. . . but a time for paying bills without money?

Only the visits of the three spirits can change Scrooge's attitude and, by stave five, the two men are finally aligned in their attitudes to Christmas and the pursuit of riches. 

davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fred, like most people, loves Christmas. Scrooge most certainly does not. Fred comes to Scrooge's house to wish him the compliments of the season and to invite him over for Christmas dinner. Scrooge's reaction is as brusque as it is famous: "Bah, humbug!"

But Scrooge wasn't always like this. Once upon a time he really used to love Christmas, enjoying the festive season in the company of his kindly old employer, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated young Ebeneezer like a son. Perhaps Scrooge is so hostile to his young nephew because he reminds him so much of his former self. Hating Christmas, then, is almost a sign of self-loathing on Scrooge's part.

And also, we should bear in mind that Scrooge's late beloved sister, Fan, died bringing Fred into the world. In some way he probably blames his nephew for his mother's death. And it was the death of his sister that first put a bit of iron into Scrooge's soul, setting him on the path to becoming an ornery old miser.

It is little wonder, then, that Scrooge and Fred have such completely different attitudes towards Christmas.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In A Christmas Carol Ebeneezer Scrooge and his nephew, Fred, certainly have different opinions and points of view.  This can be seen as early as the first "stave" of the book.

In that part of the book, Fred comes into Scrooge's business and greets him very happily.  The line is

A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!' cried a cheerful voice.

Fred says this even though he surely knows that Scrooge will not be happy to see him.

In return, Scrooge is grumpy, of course.  He and his nephew argue a little.  Scrooge says that Fred has no reason to be so happy.  Fred says Scrooge has no reason to be so glum.

In this way, they show very different attitudes towards life.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another example of Scrooge and Fred portraying opposite opinions and attitudes is when his nephew Fred invites Scrooge to his annual Christmas party that will be filled with holiday cheer. Scrooge is very rude and of course refuses the invitation but Fred replies with a cheerful "Merry Christmas!" anyway. Scrooge replies with his grumpy "Bah! Humbug!"

This goes to show us that Scrooge has a very bitter attitude, especially around this time of year. Regardless of Scrooge's attitude, Fred remains in cheerful spirits and goes about celebrating Christmas as usual.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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