A Christmas Carol
Transformation Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
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. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. 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, no wintry weather chill him. (1.7-8)
Well, when you put it that way, even Scrooge himself has some supernatural qualities, no? Why is this description so overblown—why not describe Scrooge as a nasty old man, instead of the very personification of coldness? And pardon Shmoop, while we go crawl back under our snuggie.
The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed. Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke: a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. (1.67)
See, Dickens, capitalism ain't all that bad. As long as everyone's in a good mood, at least. Here, the cruel coldness of economics gives way to the jolly good fun of everyone's favorite pastime: shopping. But not for Scrooge—his business doesn't produce anything jolly good, so he can never rise above the cold hard facts of buying and selling.
It was a strange figure—like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child's proportions. (2.20)
You know what? We'd argue that surreal and hallucinogenic images like this one make this work actually unfilmable—or at least unfilmable in a way that stays true to the original. So stop trying, Hallmark Channel!