What exactly trigger’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s big transformation in A Christmas Carol? I always thought Scrooge’s change of heart came about when the spirit of Christmas-yet-to-come pointed a boney finger to Ebenezer’s grave. I may have been influenced in that respect by the Mr. Magoo version.
Re-reading A Christmas Carol this year I noticed that the spirits themselves have little to do with Uncle Ebenezer’s big 180. Scrooge generally scoffs at the spirits, suggesting that Marley’s ghost is a bad dream induced by heartburn, an “undigested bit beef, a blot of mustard.” The transformation actually starts when Scrooge rediscovers his inner child and sets him free.
If this sounds a little like psychoanalysis, you wouldn’t be the first to make the comparison. Dickens takes his character on journey back to re-experience some of the trauma of his childhood, a process that turns out to be surprisingly similar to intensive short-term therapy. The relationship between memory and personal transformation is a concept straight out of Alfred Adler.
So how would you diagnose Ebenezer Scrooge? Psychology student Kathleen Eveland thinks Scrooge is possibly bipolar exhibiting symptoms of stress-induced psychosis.