A Christmas Carol Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What is Scrooge's attitude towards Bob Cratchit, Fred, the carolers and the two philanthropists in A Christmas Carol?   

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Scrooge is dismissive and disparaging of everyone who tries to get him to celebrate Christmas.

When the story opens, it is Christmas Eve. Scrooge is grumpy, as always. He is a little grumpier than usual because everyone keeps trying to get him to celebrate Christmas. Scrooge does not approve of Christmas, or any holiday for that matter. He only cares about making money. 

Scrooge’s nephew Fred, his only family member, asks him over for Christmas dinner. Scrooge is annoyed, and berates Fred for celebrating Christmas and for getting married. Fred remains good-natured, telling Scrooge that even if Christmas never made him any money he still feels it has done him good. His speech irritates Scrooge. 

“Don’t be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow.”

Scrooge said that he would see him—yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first. (Stave 1) 

Fred is not the only one who wants something from Scrooge. Two philanthropists come asking Scrooge to give to the poor. They tell him that at Christmastime it is more important than ever to help the poor. Scrooge is not happy.  He refuses to give them any money and asks if poorhouses and debtor’s prisons are still operating. 

"Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.” (Stave 1) 

In response to the comment that many of the poor would rather die than go to the poorhouses or debtor’s prisons, Scrooge says that they should die, in order to “decrease the surplus population.” He tells the men to mind their own business, and they leave. Scrooge keeps his word about refusing the poor. When children come caroling, he goes after them with a ruler.

Scrooge complains to Bob Cratchit, his clerk, when he asks for the day off for Christmas. He says it is the same as “picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” Scrooge treats his clerk horribly, not even allowing him sufficient coal to keep himself warm. Cratchit obviously needs the job, though, because he is polite to Scrooge.

Scrooge's attitude of contempt toward those around him is clearly not limited to Christmas. He wants to be alone, and prefers to be miserable. Since at Christmastime people make an extra effort to reach out, he finds it a very difficult time of year.

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