That Ebenezer Scrooge is a part of the story, or the history, that I will relate is not to be disputed. That Scrooge is the main character in our tale remains true. That he was visited by mysterious and previously unseen apparitions is also true, for no mortal author or playwright could make that up. The names on the well-known warehouse was not Scrooge and Marley, but Cratchit and Marley. Indeed, Cratchit was Marley’s partner in the endeavor. I suppose Mr. Dickens believed Scrooge to be a more prosperous Christian name than Cratchit, but in reversing the characters, the author took the path of least resistance.
Indeed, shall I suggest that Charles Dickens is the author of a tale that was mighty easy to tell. This man, Scrooge, upon turning from his supposed miserly ways upon the visits of four ghoulish figures in the night, simply bought the affections of his family and his clerk (who, in reality, was his superior). Yes, it is unchallenging to express the tale of a prosperous, yet miserly, old man who changes into a benevolent and spirited man who chooses and welcomes a second chance.
But is it possible to demonstrate the truth? That Scrooge was not a rich despot is a lie; that Scrooge was the poor, scrounging, scraping, patriarch of an English family is the more accurate narrative. True, he was hard as stone, but he had every right to be stone-like. True he was resentful of the cheerful, but he came by his resent as honestly as any man who lived hand to fist, payday to payday. Scrooge was a man at his wit’s end, unable to save a ha’penny for old age. Ebenezer Scrooge was a man aggrieved that he could not adequately provide for his family – his missus and their brood.
The thing that grieved Mr. Scrooge most of all was the well-being, or rather the lack of such, of young Timothy, who the reader already knows as Tiny. The lad is rightly portrayed as a cripple, handicapped physically, but well-spirited in his heart and soul. There was nothing in the elder Scrooge that could help his son. In fact, Tiny Tim walked with a homemade crutch, which often required replacement due to its crude workmanship. Ebenezer was not a carpenter, nor was he an expert in the medical arts. He understood all too well that Tiny Tim’s condition was in decline, that a mere crutch would soon be deficient in holding him upright.
Already Tim was dying. Soon he would sleep in the ground just like Scrooge’s former boss, the late and long deceased Jacob Marley. How might he provide the relief his son required? His wages were used for food and board, or what passed for food and board in the most minimal fashion of the day. So Scrooge was depressed. Though he would like to have a professional position in the Cratchit and Marley company, he lacked the education or experience required for advancement. His dead-end position would never allow him the luxury of saving Tiny Tim’s miserable life.
So Scrooge worked at his depressing, dead-end clerking position with animosity toward his living boss, Bob Cratchit, toward the corporation of Cratchit and Marley, and toward the job itself. In fact, Mr. Scrooge regretted every part of his life – meeting his wife and fathering children being just the latest of his remorses. Would that he had never grown up! Would that he had never been born! Would that his genealogy had never extended beyond the first man! Would that the good Lord had never created the universe!
As a result, Scrooge had no friendly acquaintances. Because of his general demeanor, which was mean beyond the frothing-mouth of a rabid wolf, Scrooge was a lonely and lonesome soul. Chin on his chest, his forehead rarely seeing sunshine in the summer season, rain in the spring, or stinging sleet in the winter. He walked indeterminately, feet sloughing through the gray-black street slush, icy water soaking through undarned stockings. Shoulders slouching, Ebenezer growled under his breath, grumbled to passersby, and grouched to perfect strangers. Nothing, nothing, nothing satisfied his negativity. Nothing gave him hope.