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Ebenezer Scrooge: More than just a name?

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posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 06:09 AM
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I am sure most of us are familiar with Charles Dickens' character Ebenezer Scrooge. He is the main character in the Christmas tale by the English Victorian novelist that is perhaps the writer's best known story. It is about a man who denies Christmas and is on his own during the festivities. The story plays on his isolation being a result of his mean temperament and attitude to Christmas.

I think Dickens borrowed heavily here from Shakespeare's Shylock character in The Merchant of Venice. Ebenezer comes from,

Ebenezer אבנעזר: Meaning: stone of help:

"This was the memorial stone set up by Samuel to commemorate the divine assistance to Israel in their great battle against the Philistines, whom they totally routed (1 Sam. 7:7-12) at Aphek, in the neighborhood of Mizpeh, in Benjamin, near the western entrance of the pass of Beth-horon. Ebenezer is mentioned three times in the Bible."

Ebenezer Scrooge is a character who is haunted by his conscience, literally by the Ghost of Christmas, telling him about the wrongs of his attitudes, etc. He only finds redemption after warming to the idea of Christmas.

The whole story smacks of Victorian animosity about the Jews not celebrating Christmas. Through Scrooge they are painted as children haters and something entirely undesirable because they are not warm to the spirit of Christmas. Dickens was originally a journalist and in true journalist fashion he has written a propaganda piece good and proper. It was another weight of social pressure to conform to the Christmas brand or, quite frankly, else! The children are taught here that people (particularly the negative Jewish archetype) who don't celebrate Christmas are nasty people with karma upon them and it is a particularly striking negative caricature and racial stereotype.

Shakespeare did exactly the same thing with Shylock the Jew, portraying his character as so money grabbing and vengeful he would take the very heart of a man to resolve a financial debt. Remember, both Shylock and Scrooge are money lenders. How well this translates in today's caricatures of the Jewish bankers.

There are many other negative allusions to Jews all through the English literary tradition, from Christopher Marlowe's "The Jew of Malta" (Shakespeare may have even ripped off Marlowe for his play "The Merchant of Venice") all the way through to the twentieth century of Ezra Pound's and TS Eliot's poetry:

"My house is a decayed house,
And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London." (Eliot's Gerontion poem).

I could produce many more allusions throughout the English literary tradition relating to negative portrayal of Jewish culture, but I have here written just a basic precis to introduce my observation of this constant literary derogation of Jews and their culture. it is quite clearly obvious how anti Semitism became the horrific genocidal monster of Nazism. It pervaded even the works of the most learned men of English literature.



For an extra bit of info: The name "Marley" is a Jewish surname. It is known among Jews that Bob Marley was half Jewish. His Dad was Norval Marley;

"Robert Nesta Marley was born on the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, to Norval Sinclair Marley (1885–1955) and Cedella Booker (1926–2008).[8] Norval Marley was a British-born European-Jamaican from Sussex England, whose family had Syrian Jewish origins."

Iron, Lion, Zion? Very much so Bob!

Bah! Humbug!

The Christmas Grinch.


edit on 8-12-2015 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 07:00 AM
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a reply to: Revolution9

Beautiful thread brother


I always knew Ebenezer is real, I work for him.



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 07:05 AM
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originally posted by: Trueman
a reply to: Revolution9

Beautiful thread brother


I always knew Ebenezer is real, I work for him.



What a loaded sentence you wrote. Star just for that!



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 07:09 AM
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a reply to: Revolution9

Interesting thought, but I'm not aware Scrooge is referred to as Jewish in any shape or form in the book, and unless I've got it wrong, his tombstone is located in a Christian graveyard that he is shown by the ghost of Christmas future.

I point this out as Dickens had no issue using typical contemporary stereotypes of Jewish people - Fagan being an obvious example - so if he wanted Scrooge to be Jewish I'm sure he wouldn't have left it ambiguous.

I actually would like to take the further, if Scrooge is in fact Jewish, then 'forcing' him to take part in Christian celebrations is a little bit sinister, wouldn't you agree?



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 07:24 AM
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a reply to: uncommitted

"Fagin. Fagin /ˈfeɪjɪn/ is a fictional character: an antagonist of the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. In the preface to the novel he is described as a "receiver of stolen goods", but within the text he is more frequently identified as the "merry old gentleman" or simply "the Jew."."

Charles Dickens was definitely stereotyping deliberately reflecting his and the general attitude to Jews in Christian Victorian Britain.

The fact that Dickens gave Ebenezer such a Jewish name, no Christian would have had a name like that, alongside him being a money lender (literary allusion to Shylock) with a Jewish partner "Marley", is quite a basis for a literary debate on this don't you think.

Yes, sinister by today's standards, but not by the standards of tradition. I have already pointed out with clear examples the prevalence of Jewish negative caricature in English Literature. Literature captures the times and the attitudes. There is no judgment. It was like that and art captured and reflected it.

It would be a ludicrous stance to take if I stopped reading books from the past because of their negative attitudes by today's standards. It will not stop me from appreciating any of these works. It is good to examine and analyse them afresh according to current values though.


edit on 8-12-2015 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 07:42 AM
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originally posted by: Revolution9
a reply to: uncommitted

"Fagin. Fagin /ˈfeɪjɪn/ is a fictional character: an antagonist of the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. In the preface to the novel he is described as a "receiver of stolen goods", but within the text he is more frequently identified as the "merry old gentleman" or simply "the Jew."."

Charles Dickens was definitely stereotyping deliberately reflecting his and the genral attitude to Jews in Christian Victorian Britain.

The fact that Dickens gave Ebenezer such a Jewish name, no Christian would have had a name like that, alongside him being a money lender (literary allusion to Shylock) with a Jewish partner "Marley", is quite a basis for a ;literary debate on this don't you think.

Yes, sinister by today's standards, but not by the standards of tradition. I have already pointed out with clear examples the prevalence of Jewish negative caricature in English Literature. Literature captures the times and the attitudes. There is no judgment. It was like that and art captured and reflected it.

It would be a ludicrous stance to take if I stopped reading books from the past because of their negative attitudes by today's standards. It will not stop me from appreciating any of these works. It is good to examine and analyse them afresh according to current values though.





Whoops, should have checked my spelling. Yes, it's certainly interesting, part of me has thought it was more an attack on capitalism - profit at any cost as a pervading culture rather than one tied to a particular faith, but that's the joy of reading the classics, they can be so open to interpretation.



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 08:00 AM
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a reply to: Revolution9
The vision brought by "Christmas Past" shows Scrooge enthusiastically celebrating Christmas as a young man.
It is the hardening of his character as he ages that takes him away from Christmas.



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 08:37 AM
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Scrooge is an ad for christmas.

Oh, you don't partake of that ritual?

"Scrooooge!"



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 08:40 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Revolution9
The vision brought by "Christmas Past" shows Scrooge enthusiastically celebrating Christmas as a young man.
It is the hardening of his character as he ages that takes him away from Christmas.



Yes I guess there is that in the defence of it not being a Jewish caricature. I am not convinced by that alone though. Knowing literature and the prejudices of tradition so well I am at the very least suspicious of Dickens, especially as he had used the caricature so obviously in the character of Fagin.

Remember it is a story for children. The stereotypes and story line are diluted to it being suitable and appealing enough to the child mind. He is bound not to have been as obvious as Shakespeare or the others who were writing for an adult audience. It may even have been an unconscious act. That is a very real possibility. It could have been just a secondary unconscious influence that was an allusion to the caricature of Shylock. I have done the same thing in writing, only later to see the allusion I had conjured without expressly wishing it. Sometimes that is the very nature of prejudice. We do not even realise we are being prejudiced.



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 08:42 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
Scrooge is an ad for christmas.

Oh, you don't partake of that ritual?

"Scrooooge!"


Yes, that is what I meant in part. I mentioned the "brand" of Christmas and the social pressure of conformity being powerfully evoked in Dickens' story.



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: Revolution9
To be fair to Dickens, he did implicitly retract and apologise for the Fagin stereotype in the much later novel "Our Mutual Friend", where the Jewish character is treated very differently.



posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 10:24 AM
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originally posted by: Revolution9
...
For an extra bit of info: The name "Marley" is a Jewish surname. It is known among Jews that Bob Marley was half Jewish. His Dad was Norval Marley;

"Robert Nesta Marley was born on the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, to Norval Sinclair Marley (1885–1955) and Cedella Booker (1926–2008).[8] Norval Marley was a British-born European-Jamaican from Sussex England, whose family had Syrian Jewish origins."
...




Hence Bob Marley's perpetrating the Devil's Weed upon good Christians, deranging and destroying minds, turning otherwise good people into uncontrollable, foaming-at-the-mouth, raving lunatics, and directly leading to violent rape, killings and urban decay, ultimately resulting in ISIS.

/sarcasm!!



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