Charles Dickens



Something about Charles Dickens and his ability to take his reader to unbelievable places
with his imaginative powers allows him the honor of being the most popular English
novelist of the 19th century. Dickens has thrilled his readers for many years with his
down-to-earth stories about real people forced into real situations. Charles Dickens has
the ability to tell his stories from personal experiences. He fine-tuned his ability to tell his
own story through the life of another character or cast of characters.
Born on the evening of February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second child of his
parents, John and Elizabeth Dickens.. Although he was a solitary child, Dickens was
observant and good natured . Looking back on this period of his life, Dickens thought of it
as the golden age (Carey 6). In the first novel that he wrote, The Pickwick Papers,
Dickens tries to bring back the good old times as he remembers them with their
picturesque nature. Gary Carey believes that this novel displays the happiness of innocence
and the playful spirit of the youth during the time of Dickens\'s youthful days (7).
Overtaken by financial difficulties, the Dickens family was forced to move into a
shabby suburb of Camden Town. This move must have shown the family how good they
had it back in Chatham. There Dickens was removed from school and forced to work
degrading menial jobs in an effort to help his struggling father put food on the table.
Dickens was put to work in a blackening factory among many rough and cruel employees,
probably the worst job in town. Shortly after Dickens started working in the factory his
father was thrown into jail for failure to pay his debts, only to be released three months
later. This period of time affected Dickens greatly as he went into a period of depression.
He felt abandoned and destroyed by this evil roller-coaster ride of life he was on. From
this time period come many of the major themes of his more popular novels. Perhaps the
most popular of these novels is David Copperfield. In this novel Dickens depicts a young
man who grows up in a very similar way to that of his own (Allen 28). Dickens\' sympathy
for the victimized, his fascination with prisons and money, the desire to vindicate his
heroes\' status as gentlemen, and the idea of London as an awesome, lively, and rather
threatening environment all reflect the experiences he had during his time on his own. On
his own at the age of twelve, Dickens learned many necessary life skills which also
developed in him a driving ambition and a boundless energy that transferred into every
thing that he did (28).
It would be a mistake to think of Charles Dickens as an uneducated man just because he
had little formal schooling. Dickens did what everyone should do, learn from life. His
entire writing career was a continuing process of development and experimentation. Many
of his themes keep repeating themselves throughout his pieces and those themes most
certainly stem from his early life. From his early Pickwick Papers to his one of his last
pieces The Mystery of Edwin Drood Dickens never ceased to develop his writing abilities
and skill, establishing himself as the major and primary Victorian novelist (Bloom 189).
The journey from boyhood into manhood is a momentous one, and definitely something
that has a lasting effect on one\'s person. Charles Dickens in his novel David Copperfield
describes the journey into manhood by telling a story similar to his own life through the
life of "David Copperfield." There isn\'t one underlining theme in this novel there are many.
The journey is one that along with "David\'s" is longing for what is lost in the past and the
humiliation he feels from being an orphan. Dickens has written an excellent novel
describing the troubles of growing up and the benefits of having a rough childhood.
Through the rough experiences that he had, Dickens was able to look back on his early life
and write world-famous stories about them. Calvin Brown feel that these experiences also
helped shape the man the Dickens became, as do all experiences in life for everyone
(Brown 144)
The structure of Dickens\'s Copperfield