Marley was dead, to begin with'. This is the first line of the novella and is used to draw the reader in. It allows works in dickens favour as the opening line appeals to the Gothic culture of Victorian literature. Furthermore it sets up for his arrival later on within the stave, for if this information was not known.
'a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!' ...
'hard and sharp as flint'
This is one of the first descriptions we get of Scrooge. It sums up his character at the beginning of the novella and also surfaces in embodying Dickens, thoughts and views towards the rich in Victorian england. Scrooge serves as an extreme example of this in hopes that it would provoke change at that time so that the poor were better looked after, rather than being completely forgotten.
'solitary as an oyster'
The simile shows that Scrooge had no one, friends or family that he or they were willing to spend time with. However whilst this seems like a negative analogy, inside the oyster is a pearl, which represents Scrooges changed self.
'a time for finding yourself a year older, and not a penny richer'
Scrooge exclaims to his nephew that christmas does nothing other than make him poor. Not seeing the family side to the festivities or the reflections on the poor and the support for them that rallies around that time of year. Furthermore it shows Scrooge's obsession with money, as its all he can infer from a holiday about caring and giving.
'boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart'
This shows scrooge's view on society as he has no care and just disregards anyone who even mentions christmas to him as if it is a crime. He thinks people who say merry christmas, should be punished, showing a sadistic side to Scrooge, one that can be seen throughout the stave (‘decrease surplus population’ and threatening the carol singer with a ruler.)
'to decrease the surplus population'
This is used by Dickens as a way of representing everything wrong with theories that had come out prior to novella campaigning for change. Specifically however it targets Malthus's. He and Dickens could be seen as rivals as they had opposing views, each which couldn't be further apart.
'darkness is cheap and Scrooge liked it'
This once again shows Scrooge's obsession and addiction i keeping his money, as he would rather be in darkness then pay for a light source.
'There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are’
This is the first element of humour seen in Scrooge's dialogue, this however does not mark any sort of change. The reason Scrooge acts like this is because its maybe an impulsive reaction to seeing the ghost of Marley. A commodity rather than a regular thing.
'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business'
Marley realises that the way he lived his life was shameful. He also realises that he came upon this too late and tries to reiterate his knowledge to scrooge who seems persistent on dismissing him rather than listening to what he says.