illustration of Ebenezer Scrooge in silhouette walking toward a Christmas tree and followed by the three ghosts

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

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"Secret, And Self-contained, And Solitary As An Oyster"

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Context: A Christmas Carol is the story of the moral awakening of a bitter, unfeeling old man, Ebenezer Scrooge. With the enlightenment he receives from a series of ghosts, Scrooge is led to repent of all his inhumanity and to become filled with love. The tale opens with a description of Scrooge as he has been for years, a man without friends and without interests beyond his bank-book and the business he runs so parsimoniously. He is a thorough miser whose soul has shriveled through negligence as its owner abandons everything in life except gold. He has no interest in anyone, but lives only for himself and his blind dedication to accumulating wealth.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.

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"God Bless Us Every One!"