The Works and Life of Charles Dickens
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The Works and Life of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was a very well known and loved author for his time. Though his stories contained complex language and include many adult points and key ideas. Most of his works assume the view of a young person growing up. His novels contain many key insights which can only be fully appreciated by those who have already grown up, or those who are in the process of growth. "In his enormous body of works, Dickens combined masterly storytelling, humor, pathos, and irony with sharp social criticism and an acute observation of people and places, both real and imagined" (Sundell). Most of Dickensí works have the main character as a young boy facing the hardships of growing up in a poor family or having the life of a pauper in a big city. In these tales, though at times fictional, Dickens seems to portray his life as a child through his books. The time period about which Dickensí books were written is the mid nineteenth century. They were written as if through the eyes of a child no more than twelve years old. The response that the reader may have to this situation is that of a warm and understanding feeling. The joy and bliss of the main character is rarely showed; the main attitude is the overwhelming complexity of situations that a boy of that age must face. The readerís reaction to this may be to feel depressed because Dickensí has not showed more blissful times in the lives of his main characters. In the ending, however, Dickensí always seems to leave the reader with a warm feeling since the last scenes are usually happy. The personal life that Dickens had when growing up must have been tough due to the harsh tone used in describing the growing up of his characters.
Dickensí life was that of a well respected author and novelist. Growing up with a childhood of poverty, Dickens became one of the most famous and best loved authors of his time. Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, yet spent most of his childhood in London and Kent. He started school at the age of nine, but his education was soon halted when his father was incarcerated for debt in 1824. Feeling utterly humiliated, Dickens was forced to support himself working in a shoe-polish factory. Later, Charles described his youth in the novel David Copperfield with little change from what had occurred in his own life. Between the years of 1824 and 1826, Dickens again attended school, though he was for the most part self-educated. In the year of 1827, Dickens took a job as a legal clerk. Soon, learning short-hand, Dickens began to interview the courts of parliament where he adapted the technique of quickly describing situations in great detail which lead to his creative writing later in his life. In December of 1833, Dickens published the first of many sketches of daily life in London called the Sketches by Boz. Later, in 1836, Dickens would go on to publish his first comic narrative The Pickwick Papers. The success of his first novel made Dickens famous. Subsequently, Dickens maintained his fame with a constant stream of novels. Composing traveling books, editing weekly periodicals, administering charitable organizations, and social reforms, Dickens became very well known. In 1842, he lectured in the United States in favor of an international opposition to slavery soon to be followed by the publication of A Christmas Carol, an ever-popular childrenís story. Well known throughout America and England, Dickens life was shadowed by domestic unhappiness. He later divorced his wife in 1858. In spite of this, Dickens went on to help in a major stage production performed for Queen Victoria in 1851. Dickens continued to write until his death on June 9, 1870, leaving behind ten children. He was buried in the Westminster Abbey five days later where his grave remains today. (Sundell)
As an international favorite, Dickens has been praised and critiqued many times regarding his works. During the later nineteenth century near the height of Dickensí popularity as an author, his novels were often critiqued regarding his unusual views. Dickens was also criticized for the complexity and publishing errors in his works,
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Charles Dickens, Dickens, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, Dickens in America, Our Mutual Friend
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