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An evaluation on the life and works of charles dickens

Only William Shakespeare has commanded anything like the same level of both extraordinary popularity and critical esteem. Dickens was the first mainstream nineteenth century writer to reach out to hundreds of thousands of lower-class semiliterate readers, for whom he retained a conscientious concern that was only partly paternalistic: Dickens himself did much to bring his works within the reach of ordinary people: Chesterton wrote in 1906, was that Dickens was both genius and Everyman: He wanted what the people wanted.

That helps explain why about a dozen pirated adaptations of Oliver Twist were playing popular theaters across London before Dickens had even finished writing the novel and why early cinema invested so heavily in his novels—the second British feature film, in 1912, was an adaptation of the very same novel. It partly accounts, too, for the wild fluctuations in his critical reputation during his lifetime and after.

Other sources for this are probably his period sentimentality and his resounding anti-intellectualism—he was, above all, an instinctive performer and semieducated improviser, the master of the carnival, a self-made man who thought he had a few hard-won truths to tell but who, unconsciously, revealed considerably more.

When the twelve-year-old Dickens walked alone through London to the blacking factory, the scene of his degradation, he learned step-by-step the map of the sprawling and frightening city that looms in nearly every one of his works, the first modern metropolis, where only one in two poor children would survive to precarious adulthood.

To express the image of the great city, it takes an imaginative identification of people with their houses, like an evaluation on the life and works of charles dickens kind Dickens achieves in Little Dorrit, or the intrusion of a gigantic symbol, such as the real-life dustheaps that loom over the urban wasteland of Our Mutual Friend, and through which scavengers sift for coins, spoons, rags, and bits of human bone. The story of his childhood degradation was also the source of his relentless, even desperate, creative energy and the core of the central myth he created of lost and violated childhood.

In Bleak House, perhaps his masterpiece, he speaks, still more startlingly, directly through another female character, illegitimate and unattractive Esther Summerson.

In Bleak House, it is the dilatory injustice of the legal system. His portrait of the vampiric lawyer Mr. Attempting to reassure a client, Vholes thumps his coffinlike desk, making a sound as if ashes were falling on ashes, and dust on dust.

Oliver Twist First published: Pickwick, form a hard-hitting satire on the inhuman cruelties of the New Poor Laws of 1834. Innocent as ever, it is not until Oliver is mistakenly arrested that he realizes that his new friends are pickpockets. During his trial at the police an evaluation on the life and works of charles dickens, the gentleman, Mr. All seems safe—but Oliver knows too much about wily, demonic Fagin and his companion-in-crime, Bill Sikes.

As this excess of coincidences indicates, the second half of the novel is inferior to the first. Good eventually defeats evil, and Oliver inherits the heaven of respectable middle-classness, hardly a radical solution to a novel that trumpets its social criticism.

Nicholas Nickleby First published: Novel A young gentleman restores the flagging fortunes of his family and exposes the villainy of his uncle. At Dotheboys Hall in Yorkshire, Nicholas wins a test of strength with the evil headmaster Squeers, whose reign of terror has resulted in the abuse and deaths of his cringing charges, all of whom are orphans and unwanted children—a fictionalization of the real-life horrors that Dickens documented during a visit to Yorkshire with his illustrator.

Next, Nicholas becomes an actor in the hilariously inept touring company of Mr.

  1. A resource page including digital works, publishers and audio books.
  2. Although his fiction was not politically subversive, he called to remedy acute social abuses.
  3. However, as Louis James argues. The affair disrupted some of his friendships and narrowed his social circle, but surprisingly it seems not to have damaged his popularity with the public.

Crummies, a development that allows Dickens to demonstrate both his knowledge and his affection for the theater. Father and son both perish, but a happy conclusion is brought about by the fairy-tale benevolence of the Cheeryble Brothers. Not surprisingly, they have long been targets of attack for critics who believe that Dickens has no practical or political solutions to offer to the abuses that he exposes.

Charles Dickens World Literature Analysis - Essay

David Copperfield First published: The experience was too painful and Dickens abandoned the autobiographical attempt. Comfort, however, is provided by the feckless, wordy, self-important Mr. When Micawber departs in search of his fortune, David also leaves London in quest of love and family. Robbed even of his clothes, he walks the long miles to Dover, where his is rewarded by the half-unexpected affection of his cantankerous and eccentric Aunt Betsy.

Charles Dickens

She provides the schooling proper to a gentleman at Dr. The text pays little attention to his work; however, his romantic life looms far larger. On her deathbed—tragic but inevitable, given her inadequacies—Dora commends David to the woman who will be her successor, Dr. Yet several hurdles must be negotiated before David can be safely delivered into the haven of a proper Victorian marriage. Strong and Agnes must be rescued from the clutches of the reptilian, mock-humble Uriah Heep, largely through the agency of Micawber.

Great Expectations First published: Novel The mysterious benefactor who turns Pip into a gentleman proves to be not the aristocratic lady he supposed but a runaway convict. In his fiction, Dickens found it necessary not only to orphan himself of the parents who shamed him but also to re-create them in ideal shapes—and sometimes, too, to be fair to them. That is what happens in Great Expectations. Pip is a village orphan brought up roughly by his unmotherly sister her bosom bristles with pinsthe wife of gentle blacksmith Joe Gargery.

  1. Dickens wrote of this New York City intersection known for its desolation and poverty.
  2. A novelist universally associated with social issues, he was attacked for allowing his imagination to come between his writing and his subject, and his underlying attitudes can be evasive. Novel A young gentleman restores the flagging fortunes of his family and exposes the villainy of his uncle.
  3. His farewell reading tour was abandoned when, in April 1869, he collapsed. Father and son both perish, but a happy conclusion is brought about by the fairy-tale benevolence of the Cheeryble Brothers.
  4. Even the juvenile leads, who had usually been thinly conceived conventional figures, are now often more complicated in their makeup and less easily rewarded by good fortune. Popular weekly miscellanies of fiction, poetry, and essays on a wide range of topics, these had substantial and increasing circulations, reaching 300,000 for some of the Christmas numbers.

In the first chapter of the novel, on the memorable day when he becomes aware for the first time of his identity and his place in a hostile world, Pip meets, in the graveyard where his parents lie buried, a shivering, ravenous, and monstrous man, an escapee from the prison ships across the marshes, who terrorizes Pip into stealing food and drink for him.

The convict is eventually recaptured, but not before Pip and Joe has come to pity him or before he has lied that it was he who stole a pie and brandy from the Gargery larder.

Charles Dickens as Social Commentator and Critic

Next, Pip also meets the rich, weird recluse Miss Havisham, who lives in a darkened and dusty room where time has stood still, dressed always in a yellowing wedding dress. Pip leaves for London, and inevitably a wedge is driven between him and his best friend, illiterate Joe, of whom Pip sinks so low as to become ashamed. Pip is horrified and disgusted: His money is contaminated.

The lesson of love and human decency that he must learn comes very hard indeed. Yet he learns it: By the time poor Magwitch is reclaimed by justice, Pip is prepared to stand holding his hand in the public court. Thankfully, Magwitch dies in prison before he can be hanged. Pip himself now falls seriously ill and is nursed back to life by Joe. No one, however, can turn back the clock: It is also a novel that depicts the powerful influence of environment as well as of heredity: Magwitch, the convict, and bitter Miss Havisham were themselves both abused and lonely as children.

For all of its somber coloring, however, the novel is also riotously funny in the characteristically Dickensian mode of excess: