Charles Dickens


INTRODUCTION This report will talk about the life of a

famous author, Charles Dickens. It will tell you about his

early, middle, and later years of his life. It will also talk about

one of his great works of literature. In conclusion, this report

will show a comparison of his work to his life. EARLY LIFE

Charles Dickens was born at Landport, in Portsea, on

February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the Navy

Pay-Office, and was temporarily on duty in the

neighborhood when Charles was born. His name was John

Dickens. He spent time in prison for debts. But, even when

he was free he lacked the money to support his family. Then,

when Charles was two they moved to London. 1 Just before

he started to toddle, he stepped into the glare of footlights.

He never stepped out of it until he died. He was a good

man, as men go in the bewildering world of ours, brave,

transparent, tender-hearted, and honorable. Dickens was

always a little too irritable because he was a little too happy.

Like the over-wrought child in society, he was splendidly

sociable, and in and yet sometimes quarrelsome. In all the

practical relations of his life he was what the child is at a

party, genuinely delighted, delightful, affectionate and happy,

and in some strange way fundamentally sad and dangerously

close to tears. 2 At the age of 12 Charles worked in a

London factory pasting labels on bottles of shoe polish. He

held the job only for a few months, but the misery of the

experience remain with him all his life. 3 Dickens attended

school off and on until he was 15, and then left for good. He

enjoyed reading and was especially fond of adventure

stories, fairy tales, and novels. He was influenced by such

earlier English writers as William Shakespeare, Tobias

Smollet, and Henry Fielding. However, most of the

knowledge he later used as an author came from his

environment around him. 4 MIDDLE LIFE Dickens became

a newspaper writer and reporter in the late 1820's. He

specialized in covering debates in Parliament, and also wrote

feature articles. His work as a reporter sharpened his

naturally keen ear for conversation and helped develop his

skill in portraying his characters speach realistically. It also

increased his ability to observe and to write swiftly and

clearly. Dickens' first book, Sketches by Boz (1836)

consisted of articles he wrote for the Monthly Magazine and

the London Evening Chronicles.5 On April 2, 1836 he

married Catherine Hogarth. This was just a few days before

the anoucement that on the 31st he would have his first work

printed in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.

And this was the beginning of his career. 6 Then, at 24,

Dickens became famous and was so until he died. He won

his first literary fame with The Posthumous Papers of the

Pickwick Club. Published in monthly parts in 1836 and

1837 the book describes the humorous adventure and

misadventures of the English Countryside. After a slow start,

The Pickwick Papers as the book was usually called gained

a popularity seldom matched in the history of literature. 7

Then in 1837, Catherine's sister Mary, died. Because of her

death Dickens' suffered a lot of grief. This led some scholars

to believe that Dickens loved Mary more than Catherine.

Catherine was a good woman but she lacked intelligence.

Dickens and Catherine had 10 children. Then later in 1858,

the couple seperated. 8 LATER LIFE His later years was

basically consisting of two main additions to his previous

activites. The first was a series of public readings and

lectures which he began giving it systematically. And second,

he was a successive editor. Dickens had been many things in

his life; he was a reporter , an actor, a conjurer, a poet, a

lecturer, and a editor and he enjoyed all of those things. 9

Dickens had a remarkable mental and physical energy. He

recorded all his activites in thousands of letter, many of

which made delightful readings. He spent much of his later

life with crowded social friends from arts and literature. He

also went to the theater as often as he could, cause he loved

drama. Dickens also produced and acted in small theaters to

give public readings of his work.10 Besides doing all this

after his retirement he got involved in various charities .

These charities included schools for poor children and a loan

society to enable the poor to prove to Australia. 11 Then

about 1865 his health started to decline and he died of a

stroke on June 9, 1870. 12 Dicken's Work The Great

Expectations