A Christmas Carol Stave 1 Summary

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  • 0:04 Scrooge & Marley
  • 0:46 Bah! Humbug!
  • 2:34 A Visit from Marley
  • 4:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Margaret Stone

Margaret has taught both college and high school English and has a master's degree in English.

In Stave 1 of ''A Christmas Carol,'' readers meet Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly main character of Charles Dickens' novella. Scrooge is annoyed by the Christmas season, and upon returning home, encounters a ghost who looks strangely familiar.

Scrooge and Marley

Ebenezer Scrooge is the miserly old banker and broker in A Christmas Carol, a novella by Charles Dickens. As the novella opens, Scrooge is at work at a warehouse that bears the sign ''Scrooge and Marley'', although Jacob Marley, Scrooge's partner, has been dead for seven years.

Scrooge is so tight-fisted that he could make a penny squeal; the stingy old man allows Bob Cratchit, his clerk, only one piece of coal to burn, though he is freezing on this foggy December day. It is Christmas Eve, and Scrooge resents having to allow his clerk to take Christmas Day off, and with pay.

Bah! Humbug!

Fred, Scrooge's nephew, stops by to wish his uncle a Merry Christmas, but Scrooge responds, ''Bah! Humbug!'' Fred cannot understand why his uncle is not caught up in the spirit of the season. Scrooge informs him that, in his opinion, his nephew is poor and has nothing to celebrate. Scrooge's nephew replies that he benefits from Christmas because it's a time when people are open and giving. Despite his uncle's foul humor, Fred invites Scrooge to dine with him and his family on Christmas.

After Scrooge's nephew leaves his uncle's office, two men arrive seeking a donation for the needy. ''We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices,'' the men explain. When they ask Scrooge for a donation, he refuses and ushers them out of his office.

Scrooge is further annoyed by a caroler who attempts to sing a Christmas song through the keyhole. Scrooge reacts to the merriment with violence. ''Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action, that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.''

When closing time arrives, Scrooge grudgingly and with a scowl sends his clerk home. Bob gleefully heads for home, stopping to play with children in the street along the way. Scrooge is secretly happy too, as he will be rid of the holiday merrymaking as soon as he arrives at his darkened house.

A Visit from Marley

As Scrooge arrives at his house, he thinks he sees Marley's face on the door knocker. Scrooge knows this is impossible since Marley is long dead, but he checks all the rooms in his house anyway. There is no disarray. ''Humbug!'' Scrooge says, as he tries to shake the eerie feeling from the incident.

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