Charles Dickens

In: English and Literature

Submitted By wagalwis
Words 8273
Pages 34
Charles John Huffam Dickens (/ˈtʃɑrlz ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period.[1] During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.[2][3]

Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors' prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.[4][5] The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback.[5] For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens went on to improve the character with positive features.[6] His plots were carefully constructed, and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his…...

Similar Documents

Sketches by Boz - Charles Dickens

...Sketches by Boz “The Streets - Morning” The Victorian London streets is a familiar setting of Dicken's works with “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol” being some his most memorable works. In this passage Dickens offers the reader an alternative London, one without the energetic crowds but instead a much more disquieting place where the streets are dull and lifeless. We are met with a silent neighbourhood before the sun has risen and through the use of characters, setting and comparisons the reader receives a rich picture of the sunless streets. The passage begins with the introduction of the Victorian London scene on a summer morning. The reader is taken by surprise by the opening sentence where “The streets of London on a summer's morning” are described to be “most striking”. Dickens' interesting choice of words places the pre-dawn London scene in the summer, a time of warmth and sun, however we are offered a nineteenth century London that is typically portrayed with a bleak, grey backdrop. Few people roam this neighbourhood apart from those “whose unfortunate pursuits of pleasure, or scarcely less unfortunate pursuits of business, cause them to be well acquainted with the scene.” This leads to the belief that each summer's morning starts off like this, colourless and melancholy; the people who happen to be awake at this dreary hour are the rogues who remain. Each just as depressed as the other, and both's search for something more than the blind acceptance of a......

Words: 1557 - Pages: 7

Fagin`S Character in Charles Dickens` “Oliver Twist”

...Fagin`s Character in Charles Dickens` “Oliver Twist” Characters are one of the most significant features that writers use to express their thoughts and illustrate their messages. These characters may be good or bad depending on the characterization given to them by the writers. In other words, the goodness or evilness of a character is determined by the way the writers depict the character`s physical appearance, speech, behavior or reaction. In “Oliver Twist”, Dickens successfully chooses his characters to suit the message of his work. This novel deals with many topics, one of which is the world of crime and criminals. One major character in this field of criminality is Fagin, the Jew. Fagin is ugly and has a terrifying appearance which gives the readers a hit that this person is not a good character. And he is, indeed, a bad character. He is the master criminal; he is the leader of a group of children whom he uses for his own sake. Fagin teaches those children how to do pickpocketing. Simply, he asks them to steal and bring what they stole to him so that he can trade with some of those stolen things and keep the precious species for himself. However, Dickens doesn’t present Fagin as evil only, but he instead shows the readers many dimensions of Fagin`s character. For example, Fagin is called “merry old gentleman” since he is seen many times in sarcastic situations and humorous scenes. Besides, no one can ignore the kindness that Fagin shows towards Oliver so many times,...

Words: 1010 - Pages: 5

Charles Dickens

...Charles Dickens by, Charlotte Toal “Whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do it well; whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself completely; in great aims and in small I have always thoroughly been in earnest.” These inspirational words spoken by Charles Dickens are not what come to mind when people think of this remarkably talented and widely appreciated author, but his great and timeless works are. As a man of compassion, insight, and aptitude, the English author had many thoughts, both those he incorporated into his books, and those he did not. As a young boy in England, Dickens got a generous taste of hardship and suffering. Many poor families—like his—worked in factories. The particular factory, in which he worked for several years, was a shoe polish factory. While his father was in debtors’ prison, Dickens’ family moved away from him to be close to the prison. The twelve-year-old boy was forced to live alone and work. Although the first years of his life were neither the most pleasant nor advantageous, it was not always that way for Dickens. Though most present-day authors, business men, or politicians don’t establish themselves in a particular working venue or business until later in life, Charles Dickens became an accomplished freelance reporter and stenographer, and by age twenty he had become a reporter for two newspapers. Shortly after beginning his writing career, Dickens began submitting—and......

Words: 720 - Pages: 3

Charles Dickens' Great Expectations as a Fairy Tale

...Pip’s life, and maybe Dickens naming him Pip was supposed to be ironic, because a pip is something that grows over time and turns into something beautiful, and we get to see Pip growing and flourishing. We are told of his everyday encounters and so by the time he has grown up, it’s almost as if you have become attached to him. At the beginning of the book, Pip seems to spend a lot of time daydreaming and reminiscing, and it’s almost as if he was wishing he could travel back in time and change things. Over time, we see how Pip’s expectations change. In the beginning, Pip has no expectations of life, as he wishes to do is work alongside Joe the Blacksmith. Never the less, this all changed when he met Miss Havisham. Pip believed that he would marry Estella and become heir to Miss Havisham’s money. Although, at this point in the book, Pip did not marry Estella, he still believed that he had received her riches and it was not until he had moved and settled into the city that he learnt his riches came from Magwitch. Throughout the book, we see Pip move from the sinister country his hometown where he had lived most his life, to the city, a dangerous rough and ready hard place to live in. Great Expectations shows that not all stories have a need to have a happy ending to make it a good book. Although Pip doesn’t obtain what he really wanted he gains wisdom through his suffering. In the Charles Dickens book of Great......

Words: 1181 - Pages: 5

Ideal Childhood According to Charles Dickens

...to Charles Dickens. "Great Expectations by Charles Dickens was Published in 1860. The novel is almost an autobiographical novel for Charles Dickens since many of his early life's experiences are echoed in the novel. Like Dickens, Pip the main protagonist who lived in Kent, the marsh country,works at a job he hated and believes himself to be too good for his surroundings and expeirences material success at a very early age. Infact it portrays the conditions of the early nineteenth century. Great Expectations depicts a process, a journey of growing, maturation and self-discovery through experience and perceptions as the protagonist transcends from childhood to adulthood as experienced by Pip. Dickens' childhood experience, which included such episodes as the time he spent in the blacking factory, his life alone while his father was in debtor's prison and the neglect of his education, made him very aware of the vulnerability of childhood.Dickens has dramatized the importance of childhood perception within the social world of the early nineteenth century. As we look into the novel, Dicken has portrayed that the child is being wronged by the adult around him and ends with the child doing penance in the end according to the novel we have studied. It begins with Pip as the victim of adults and the societys' corruption and ignorance at large. Though the novel like "Great Expectations and "David Copperfield" are mostly a recollections by the narator in adulthood, Dicken has...

Words: 1364 - Pages: 6

Charles Dickens and His Worldview

...Charles Dickens In Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist Nancy prepares to escape from the torment of Bill Sikes, not realizing she is being followed by a subordinate of Sikes. She meets Mr. Brownlow and provides details about Monks, letting him know that she intends to help Oliver escape. This information is relayed to Sikes and shortly thereafter, Nancy is beaten to death. Nancy is a morally ambiguous character who wrestles with making the right decisions. She serves as a common Dickens character who tries to do right but gets crushed by a cruel world. In Dickens’s world, people grow and change over time and can be easily influenced by the world’s vices. People enter the world innocent and rational, but as they age, society seeks to break them. Still, Dickens believes that some, like Nancy, can free themselves from society’s influence and become more compassionate. Dickens lauds those who reflect the created order by showing concern for the needs of others, regardless of social standing or background; he also believes that humans can become corrupted by the world, so discovering inherent goodness is a struggle. People enter the world innocent and rational, and society quickly preys on them. Society strives to form each person into what it wants, changing how people grow over their lives. Scrooge of A Christmas Carol was once compassionate towards others and becomes hard-hearted after tragic events. He lost a sister and grew stingier, driving those in his life away. He comes......

Words: 2842 - Pages: 12

Charles Dickens

...Charles dickens English novelist generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens's works are characterized by attacks on social evils, injustice, and hypocrisy. He had also experienced in his youth oppression, when he was forced to end school in early teens and work in a factory. Dickens's good, bad, and comic characters, such as the cruel miser Scrooge, the aspiring novelist David Copperfield, or the trusting and innocent Mr. Pickwick, have fascinated generations of readers. Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Hampshire, during the new industrial age, which gave birth to theories of Karl Marx. Dickens's father was a clerk in the navy pay office. He was well paid but often ended in financial troubles. In 1814 Dickens moved to London, and then to Chatham, where he received some education. The schoolmaster William Giles gave special attention to Dickens, who made rapid progress. In 1824, at the age of 12, Dickens was sent to work for some months at a blacking factory, Hungerford Market, London, while his father John was in Marshalea debtor's prison. "My father and mother were quite satisfied," Dickens later recalled bitterly. "They could hardly have been more so, if I had been twenty years of age, distinguished at a grammar-school, and going to Cambridge." Later this period found its way to the novel LITTLE DORRITT (1855-57). John Dickens paid his £40 debt with the money he inherited from his mother; she died at the age of seventy-nine when he was......

Words: 765 - Pages: 4

Charles Dickens

...Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens. Charles was the second of eight children. Charles parents became debtor prisoners and during that time, at the age of twelve Charles went to live with a family friend Elizabeth Rylance. There Charles attended a private school for three years. In May 1827 Charles worked as a junior clerk for the law offices of Ellis and Blackmore. In 1832 at the age of 20 Charles submitted his first story A Dinner at Poplar Walk. As a young man Charles also mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. In 1836 at the age of 25 he started working at Pickwick Papers. At Pickwick Papers he published many of his novels in monthly installment in the paper. The first of these installments were from the novel Oliver’s Twist, which would later be published in 1838. Some of Charles Dickens other novels include Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Story, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. Charles Dickens first love was a woman by the name of Maria Beadnell, after Maria’s parents disapproved of their courtship Maria was sent away to school in Paris. On April 2, 1836 after a one year engagement Charles married Catherine Thomson Hogarth. Together Charles and Catherine would have 10 children and be together for 18 years. In 1857 however Charles would hire Ellen Ternan to star in one of his plays......

Words: 1955 - Pages: 8

Charles Dickens

...Taylor World Literature 14 April 2012 Charles Dickens Charles Dickens is one of the most known and famous authors from the 1800’s. He is better known as that guy who wrote A Christmas Carol . He is the most famous author born in the year 1812. He had a normal early childhood, but strange adolescence and young adulthood, and a strange adulthood. Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812. His parents were John and Elizabeth Dickens. Fred Kaplan says that even though Charles had the two middle names, he never used them and never forgave his parents for them (19). His father worked as a clerk in the payroll office for the Navy. He was born in No. 1 Mile End Terrace, Landport, Portsmouth England. “He was baptized on March 4th in St. Mary’s church near the modest, narrow house on the mile end terrace that his family rented” (Kaplan 19). His parents were not very good with money and had a lot of problems with debt. In fact, his father was sent to debtor’s prison when Charles was twelve years old. Even though Charles Dickens is a world famous author, he had very little formal education and was primarily self-taught. He did attend William Giles’ school in Chatham, Kent between the ages of nine and eleven. He loved to read and perform. In the fall of 1821 at the age of nine, he wrote a tragedy called Misnar, the Sultan of India and liked the attention he got for being an author (Kaplan 28). When he was twelve, Charles was forced to leave school and work......

Words: 1134 - Pages: 5

Charles Dickens "Oliver Twist"

...Throughout Charles Dickens’ book “Oliver Twist” the author elaborates on one main theme, the failure of charity. The first part of Oliver Twist takes into account the charity organizations run by the church and the government. The system Dickens describes in his book, explains that the poor could only receive government help if they moved and worked in government workhouses. Residents of those workhouses were compared to inmates whose rights were taken away for the price of food and shelter. Labor was required, and rations of food and clothing were slim. The workhouses operated on the principle that poverty was the equivalent to laziness and that the awful conditions in the workhouse would inspire the poor to better their own lives. The economic situation of the Industrial Revolution made it impossible for many to do so, and the workhouses did not provide to help with the social and economical adjustment upward. As Dickens points out, the government agencies who ran the workhouses violated the values they spoke of to the poor. Dickens describes with a sarcastic tone that of the greed, laziness, and arrogance of charitable workers like Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Mann. Charitable institutions only played on the awful conditions in which the poor would live anyway. Making orphan children like Oliver Twist start work at a very young age. Never giving him a chance to move up in the world. The book first opens with a look on how the poor must live and the conditions of the work......

Words: 396 - Pages: 2

Charles Dickens

...AUTHOR British author Charles Dickens was born Charles John Huffam Dickens on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England. He was the second of eight children. His father, John Dickens, was a naval clerk. Charles Dickens’ mother, Elizabeth Barrow, aspired to be a teacher and school director. Despite his parents’ best efforts, the family remained poor. In 1822, the Dickens family moved to Camden Town, By then the family’s financial situation had grown dire, as John Dickens had a dangerous habit of living beyond the family’s means. Eventually, John was sent to prison for debt in 1824, when Charles was just 12 years old. Following his father’s imprisonment, Charles Dickens was forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking factory alongside the River Thames. At the rundown, rodent-ridden factory, Dickens earned six shillings a week labeling pots of “blacking,” a substance used to clean fireplaces. It was the best he could do to help support his family. The horrific conditions in the factory haunted him for the rest of his life. Apparently, Dickens never forgot the day when a more senior boy in the warehouse took it upon himself to instruct Dickens in how to do his work more efficiently. For Dickens, that instruction may have represented the first step toward his full integration into the misery and tedium of working-class life. The more senior boy’s name was Bob Fagin. Dickens’s residual resentment of him reached a fevered pitch in the......

Words: 664 - Pages: 3

3.03b Charles Dickens

...Charles Dickens Questions 1. From the biography, what incident changed Dickens' life and helped to shape him as a writer? · His father was imprisoned and he was forced to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory 2. How old do you think Pip is? · Seven 3. Quote the specific language in the selection that leads you to this conclusion. · “As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their tombstones.” “I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly.” 4. Reread the sentence highlighted in orange. Notice the intense descriptive language Dickens uses. What do you think is the author's purpose for including such an extraordinarily long descriptive sentence? · He wanted the reader to be able to “see” the churchyard in which Pip was standing, as well as the man who was approaching him. 5. List 10 words from this same sentence that produce a frightening tone. Now choose synonyms to substitute for these words you have selected and rewrite the sentence with the words you have chosen. Is your new sentence as effective as Dickens'? Explain why you think it is or is not. · Bleak- dreary · Overgrown- overrun · Dead- deceased · Dark- gloomy · Flat- level · Leaden- grim · Savage- rugged · Lair- den · Rushing- surging · Shivers- tremors · At such a time I found out for certain, that......

Words: 665 - Pages: 3

Criminal Activity and Charles Dickens

...Great Expectations, like the majority of Charles Dickens' fiction, contains several autobiographical connotations that demonstrate the author's keen observational talents. Pip, the novel's protagonist, reflects Dickens' painful childhood memories of poverty and an imprisoned father. According to Robert Coles, "there was in this greatest of storytellers an unyielding attachment of sorts to his early social and moral experiences" (566). Complementing Dickens' childhood memories of crime and poverty was his legal training, reflected in the characterizations of lawyers and the abundance of criminal activity that hovers around the world of Great Expectations. Charles Dickens' father, John, made little money working as a clerk in England's Navy Pay Office (Coles 564). John's low salary, combined with a severe spending problem, would eventually land him in debt. As a consequence, John was placed into debtors' prison. As was the custom of the time, John was forced to bring his family along with him (Coles 564). It was 1824 and young Dickens was only 12 years old (Coles 564). To help his father out of debt, Charles worked under the horrible conditions of a blacking factory (Collins 15). According to Edmund Spenser, quoted in Phillip Collins' Dickens and Crime, these events "lie behind the loneliness, disgrace, and outlawry which pervade all his novels" (15). Collins concurs: It is a commonplace that his sympathy for suffering and neglected children, which lies at the......

Words: 1389 - Pages: 6

Charles Dickens

...Charles Dickens' Great Expectations as a Fairy Tale There are many ways in which Great Expectations resembles a fairy tale, such as the themes- poor people receiving riches, the moral reasons, - do good unto others and you shall be repaid. During Victorian times stories were used mainly for morals purposes. One of the main reasons why resembles a fairy tale is due to its characters Great Expectations has many characters that reflect the characteristics of those in fairy tales. Some of these fairy tale characteristics are found in Miss Havisham. In chapter eight, when Miss Havisham first appears, she seems to take on the aspect of a fairy godmother, but yet, she still seems to come across as a distorted figure. In chapter eleven, Pip tells how she placed her hand upon his shoulder, “…She looked like the witch of the place.” This shows Miss Havisham to be the wicked witch of the story. Chapter fifteen, in this chapter of the book we learn about the ‘morose journeyman’ and the sort of tales he told Pip. “…the devil lived in a black corner of the forge, and that he knew the fiend very well: also that it was necessary to make up the fire, once in seven years, with a live boy, and that I might consider myself fuel.” The horror stories Pip was told throughout his childhood are threaded into the texture of the novel through various images, and at this point in the book, Miss Havisham represents the witch, but she...

Words: 1189 - Pages: 5

Charles Dickens

...At first, Dickens had started Great Expectations as a little humorous short story. Quoting Dickens himself from a accompanying note to the first installment: 'I have made the opening, I hope, in its general effect exceedingly droll. I have put a child and a good-natured foolish man, in relations that seem to me very funny.' This note does seem rather out of place - Admittedly, the beginning of the story is quite hilarious. But it seems awkward that he really intended for Joe to appear to the reader as a "foolish man." However, this sets the tone for a story which is at times funny, but equally sinister and often harrowing. One of the most striking things one encounters while reading the book, are the changes Pip goes through once he has moved to London to be raised a gentleman. He hardly writes to Joe or Biddy, the only two characters in the book who expressed their love for him, and also he only seems to care for money and status. I refuse to believe that this malice is inherent to Pip's character. As this story only focuses on Pip, I would like to think that something happened to him which made him in act in such a manner. This essay doesn't claim to know the story, or what Dickens' intended it to be. You, as a reader, do not have to agree on the theories found herein. All I ask of you is that you consider them....

Words: 251 - Pages: 2