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Essay on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Biographical Information:
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812. He spent the first nine years of his life in Kent, England. When he was nine, his family moved to London. He was one of eight children and his family was deep in financial troubles. These financial troubles caused him to be withdrawn from school in 1824 and begin work in a boot-blacking factory when his entire family, except for Charles, was sent to a debtor’s prison for 3 months. After they were released, Dickens attended a private school for three years. After his education he became a solicitor’s clerk, mastered shorthand, and then became a Parliamentary reporter. In his early twenties Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals. (Jones)
The first novel that brought Dickens any sense of “fame” was The Pickwick Papers. Dickens wrote stories at a remarkable pace and often worked on more than one novel at once. At first he would publish them as monthly installments, then as books. His early novels include, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and A Christmas Carol brought his popularity up at the time. However, in his late thirties he published David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. These novels represented his “social criticism that became biting, his dark humor, and his darker still view of poverty.” (Jones)
Dickens was married to Catherine Hogarth for twenty-three years. However, their marriage ended when he fell in love with the young actress Ellen Ternan. The end of his life was very active. He spent his time writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public’s favorab...


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Works Cited
Barickman, Richard, Susan MacDonald, and Myra Stark. “Dickens." In Corrupt Relations: Dickens, Thakeray, Trollope, Collins, and the Victorian Sexual System. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, 59-110.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Radhika Jones. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2003. Print.
Hobsbaum, Philip. A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973. A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens. Google Books. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
Lii, Thereaa. "Defining Characters by Their Chosen Environment." Defining Characters by Their Chosen Environment. Brown University, 23 Feb. 2008. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
Weiss, Zoe. "Seeing Double, Double Seeing: The Use of Doubles in Great Expectations." Seeing Double, Double Seeing: The Use of Doubles in Great Expectations. Brown University, 18 Feb. 2008. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.



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