Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Caged by Debt.

     Great news as I start my work. The books I ordered have finished roaming the world and arrived this morning. First thing I got my jacket off and kicked off my shoes. I sat on the nearest seat and opened the page on “Debtor’s Prism.” I got through my first reading before I could get some lunch. Soon after, I had to leave to go and pick my kids from school. The walk from home to the train takes between fifteen and twenty minutes and was quite refreshing. Once in the train, I was able to re-read the essay again to clearly get what the writer was conveying. Driving back from school reading could not be done until I sat down to read, annotate and write on blog.
     The essay, “Debtor’s Prism” authored by Margaret Atwood, deals with owing money and she uses many metaphors to clearly bring out the meaning. The fourth paragraph is very catchy when she simply states that “hidden metaphors are revealing.” To explain the issue of debt, she integrates words like prison, swamp, bed, hole, ship, sea, waves, flail, choke and fiscal molasses, all in the paragraph.
     Atwood continues by introducing other writers like Christopher Marlowe who describes hell as a mental or spiritual non- place. She substitutes debt for hell. Another writer is Eric Berne who says debtor is more than a game and the enormous debt is a mortgage. Charles Dickens also comes in when she refers to Scrooge made out as a fictional character who also stars on the television and billboards. She relates the life Scrooge lives before and after Marley’s ghost appears to him. Marley, who was Scrooge’s partner before, had died and had come to warn Scrooge of his money ways.
     Why is it important that Dickens had “nothing against Scrooge’s being rich?” There is certainly no condemnation for being rich weather in the secular or spiritual worlds. Atwood shows this by saying “No, it is what you do with your riches that really counts.” Scrooge made money but did not want to spend any of it on anyone including himself. To add insult to injury, the manner by which he got the money was the problem. I wish to differ a little with the writer when she argues that …”it’s not even how you get it, exactly.” In paragraph 18 she had labelled it a spiritual sin as well as a material one. The means that Scrooge and Marley got their money was by lending at interests that were unlawfully high. This is fleecing the borrowers.
     As an icon Scrooge is a representation of power and authority so that his way of handling money is under scrutiny. By overcharging interest, he has made every borrower a debtor and with the wealth he has amassed, he does not give out to charity. However, the post-ghost Scrooge, feeds the poor and saves Bob’s crippled child. He is conveying a different usage of money expressing the importance of the people and not the money. Atwood captures this when she writes about Doctor Faustus, “He’s got friends who enjoy his company, he’s a big spender who shares his wealth around, he likes food and drink and fun parties and playing practical jokes, and he uses his power to rescue at least one human being from death.” This is the exact opposite of the Scrooge we have so far met  but who will have borrowed a leaf from Doctor Faustus.

                                  Works Cited
Artwood,Margaret."Debtor's Prism." Reading Pop Culture: A Portable Anthology. Ed.Jeff Ousborne.
               Boston: Bedford St Martin's, 2013. 36-42 Print.
Neufeldt,V. (1988).Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Ed.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for books! Better late than never :-)

    Great post, too!