Why did Charles Dickens choose the name Ebenezer Scrooge?

Meet Ebenezer Scrooge: The Quintessential Miser

Charles Dickens brought to life an unforgettable character named Ebenezer Scrooge in his famous book, “A Christmas Carol”. This story, penned in response to the harsh reality of capitalism, also served a personal purpose – to help Dickens pay his mounting bills. While he didn’t profit as much as he hoped from the book, his tale became a timeless classic, forever associated with the spirit of Christmas.

The narrative of “A Christmas Carol” begins in a counting house on Christmas Eve in 1843, set in bustling London. Here, we meet the protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, a character so realistic that his name has become a synonym for a money-minded, stingy person.

The Biblical Significance of the Name ‘Ebenezer’

The name ‘Ebenezer’ has biblical roots (1 Samuel 7:2-4), and refers to a stone used by Samuel to celebrate a divine victory against the Philistines. This stone served as a solid reminder of the Lord’s power and protection. Dickens, a master of wordplay, described Scrooge as ‘hard and sharp as flint’, subtly referencing the stone’s significance. Was Dickens hinting at a divine transformation for his character?

Why Choose ‘Scrooge’ as a Surname?

Dickens selected ‘Scrooge’ as the character’s surname with equal care. The name creates a distinct sound when spoken aloud, reflecting Dickens’ understanding of his readers who would enjoy the story as a family. It combines ‘scrouge’ – a term meaning to squeeze or press – with ‘gouge’ – to cheat or swindle. This blend of words solidifies the character’s persona and aligns with his chilly demeanor.

The Intertwining of Scrooge and His Environment

Dickens deftly connects Scrooge’s character with the gloomy, crowded, and polluted setting of London. Scrooge’s cold, miserly traits reflect the harshness of Victorian London. Dickens describes him as a physical manifestation of the frigid winter, painting an image of a walking corpse, untouched by any external warmth or chill. Interestingly, Scrooge seems to control his surroundings, carrying his coldness wherever he goes.

Scrooge’s unapproachable nature repels both children and animals. His presence is so ominous that even blind men’s dogs would guide their owners away when they sensed him coming.

Join us on our “Christmas Carol” walking tour in the City of London. Traverse the frosty alleyways and shadowy courtyards frequented by Scrooge as he conducted his ruthless business, extracting money from his clients and showing no empathy for the poor or their well-wishers. Explore the world of Ebenezer Scrooge and dive deeper into the character that Dickens masterfully created.

Private Christmas Carol Tours available too.







Watch our A Christmas Carol walk trailer:

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