"A Christmas Carol" -- “Scrooge” is a misnomer today
He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days, and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, not wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him.
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens’ epic narrative “A Christmas Carol” is one of the favorites for the holiday season. It has survived for centuries, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future as special ones for those young to old.
However, the person who is given a bad rap from the story is Ebenezer Scrooge, whose name today is used to characterize those who a miserly and who care for only themselves —and their money.
The quotation above reflects how Scrooge was such a character, but the theme of this is his transformation from miserly to a kind, loving man. He was a man who hated Christmas and was a loner and cared little about others.
“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “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.”
The spirits, however, make Scrooge change. So, calling Scrooge a miser in the 21st Century eliminates the entire thematic strain put forth by Dickens,
“I don’t know what day of the month it is,” said Scrooge. “I don’t know how long I have been among the Spirits. I don’t know anything. I’m quite a baby. Never mind. I don’t care. I’d rather be a baby.”
When Scrooge awakens from his experience with the Ghosts, he does not know how much time has passed. Having learned the lessons they were sent to teach him, he now understands that everything he thought he knew is overrated. A baby—a new life who sees the world with fresh eyes—will make better decisions than someone burdened by practicalities. Scrooge feels like a baby in the sense that today marks the first day of his new life
In short, Ebenezer should be regarded as a person who changed from the terrible person of his early years to one who changed dramatically. Scrooge should not be a term for the miser, but for the people who change into wonderful people despite their earlier problems in life.