What is the effect of Scrooges fiancée referring to money as a golden idol in "A Christmas Carol"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Belle’s discussion of Scrooge’s love for money serves to explain how he ended up lonely and miserly.

In some ways, we have more sympathy for Scrooge as a result of learning that his fiancé dumped him.  She told him that he cared more about money than he did for her.

“ … 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.” (Stave 2)

However, she has a point.  Scrooge tells her that the world is hard on people who want to be rich, but harder on those who are poor.  Still, it is clear that Scrooge was deeply affected by the fact that Belle dumped him.  In fact, it is probably one of the reasons that he was pretty much alone for the rest of his life.

We know this because of Scrooge’s reaction to seeing Belle, both when she dumped him and as an older woman.  When he sees Belle dumping his younger self, he asks the Ghost of Christmas Past, “Why do you delight to torture me?”  However, his reaction to seeing her later, on the day Marley died, is even stronger.

“Remove me!” Scrooge exclaimed, “I cannot bear it!”

He turned upon the Ghost, and seeing that it looked upon him with a face, in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him, wrestled with it. (Stave 2)

It is almost as if seeing this scene reminded Scrooge of all he has lost.  That was the night he lost his partner, and the ghost chose that night to show him Belle’s future.  Belle was not alone.  She had a husband and a brood of children.  She was happy.  Scrooge, as he was reminded, had no one.  The one person he did have died that night, and he spent the night working.

These scenes do create some sympathy for Scrooge in the mind of the reader.  After all, he was not always a lonely old miser.  We learn that he had his heart broken.  However, he had already started down his current path at the time Belle dumped him.  His pursuit of wealth against all odds is why she dumped him.

smthomp1 | Student

In a Christmas Carol, this particular part, Scrooge is seen differently. Although he was lonely for his life, when he was younger he was loved. This point in the story is the first point where the reader sees his personality is changing and his affections for money makes him bad. When Scrooge gets angry when Fred mentions his wife and their disagreement of marriage. This comes from Scrooges regret about his fiance and the life they could have had together.  Scrooge responds to losing his fiance because of his devotion to money and instead of changing for the happiness with his fiance he devotes himself to money even more. His fiance refers to money as a golden idol because she isn't the idol in his life like she should be, but rather money is the only thing that is important.