Humbug.

Guest Post by Carolyne
The featured image is Tommy Steele as Ebenezer Scrooge in a 2005 musical adaptation. MJ Kim/ Getty Images.

This is taken from a theatre production of  Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Pay attention to the ways in which Fred and his uncle, Ebenezer Scrooge are characterised. How does the writer reveal their personalities? 

Fred: A Merry Christmas, Uncle. God save you!

Scrooge: Bah! Humbug!

Fred: Christmas a humbug? Surely, you don’t mean that, Uncle.

Scrooge: Merry Christmas, indeed! What right have you to be merry? You’re poor

enough.

Fred: What right have you to be dismal? You’re rich enough.

Scrooge: What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older and not an hour richer. If I had my way, every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. You keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.

Fred: I came here to ask you to spend Christmas Day with Peg and me.

Scrooge (flatly): No!

Fred: But we want nothing from you, Uncle, other than your company. (Pause) Won’t you change your mind and have dinner with us?

Scrooge: Good afternoon, Fred.

Fred: A Merry Christmas.

Scrooge: Good afternoon.

Fred: And a Happy New Year.

Scrooge: Bah! Humbug!

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7 thoughts on “Humbug.

  1. Francesca says:

    The writer revels the characters personalities through their diction, their sentence structure as well as the tone of the language used.

    As the audience we can imagine that Fred is a very happy, optimistic character with a generous giving heart. Even though Fred is poor he is still able to enjoy Christmas and extends a hand of generosity to his Uncle Scrooge dispite his highly unwelcoming character. Though it being Christimas Fred asks nothing from Scrooge ” …we want nothing from you, Uncle,other than your company” showing his kindness and compassion for a man that inspires none. Fred uses positive diction such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year”. He also speaks in a lighthearted manner that adds to the image of a cheerful young man.

    Scrooge on the other hand can be seen as the very opposite of Fred. He is cold, mean, pessimistic and miserly. Scrooge is depicted as having money but dispite or perhaps because of his wealth he is cold and mean. He looks down on poor people and doesn’t believe in festivites such as Christmas, “If l had my way, every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Throughout the extract he speaks in a flat tone of voice that is neither welcoming or comforting and his constant use of “Bah! Humbug!” shows his strong feelings of dislike and distain towards cheerfulness and Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shannon herbst says:

    Scrooge is the complete opposite of Fred, this can be seen immediately in Scrooge’s reply to Fred wishing him Merry Christmas. Scrooge seems to talk condescendingly to Fred as he says “what’s christmas to you but a time for paying bills with no money.” This shows that Scrooge thinks that just because Fred has less money than him they should not associate with each other as shown by his blatant refusal to spend the day with Fred and Peg. I think that this quite rude especially since Fred is Scrooge’s nephew. Scrooge clearly does not like christmas and makes it clear that he thinks Fred should not either when he says “what right have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.” In contrast, Fred clearly enjoys the holiday and unlike Scrooge who believes happiness depend on wealth, Fred sees christmas as a time to get together and just spend time with family, he even tells Scrooge that he does not want anything from him just to spend time with him. Even when Scrooge is being rude to Fred, he still keeps a light tone and tries to change his uncles mind. Fred is shown to be kind when he still wants to invite his uncle to spend the day with him and after the idea was rejected Fred still wishes Scrooge a happy new year. Throughout the extract Scrooge is formal and cold towards Fred who is only friendly and trying to have a relaxed conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jamie says:

    I notice that there is a lot of tension between the two, “What right have you to be merry?” by Scrooge and ” what right do you have to be dismal, you rich enough” by Fred. Scrooge seems to be very high maintenance because he is rich and that he odes not want to be a part of anything with Fred as he does not have as much money as he does. Fred sees life as spending time with family and friends whereas Scrooge only cares about the money in life.

    Liked by 1 person

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