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Great Expectations, Little Dorrit Essay

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Charles Dickens used his own personal experiences and views to create the setting in his novels, as it is seen in Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, and Bleak House. The role of the setting in each book is to create the mood and support the characters. (Davis 350) In Dickens’ novels the setting helps the reader better understand the time period and the problems the people of London faced with the political and social structure in place at the time. It also gives insight into the lives of the people through the intricate detail. Many times in Dickens novels, the setting becomes a character itself and without it the story would be incomplete. Dickens attention to detail is part of what makes his novels so unique and original. In order to see the influence Dickens’ experiences had in his books, first one must know a little of his history.
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens. (Kaplan 18) During most of his childhood they lived in London and this is where most of his settings come from. John Dickens had a hard time living within his means and when Charles was 12 his father was sent to the debtors’ prison, known as the Marshalsea. (Kaplan 39) While John was in prison Elizabeth and their other children lived at the Marshalsea with him, but Charles was sent to work in a factory to help support the family and pay off his father’s debt. (Kaplan 41) This time in Charles’ life would always be a haunting memory for him and it influenced many of his stories. After a year John’s mother died, leaving him enough money to pay off his debts and he was released from the Marshalsea. Even after his father’s release from prison, Dickens mother made him continue to work at the factory. This time caused him to be b...


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...d distinct. Many of the settings in Great Expectations and Little Dorrit come from Dickens’ childhood experiences, such as the dock yard, the Marshalsea and working in the factory. He paints vivid pictures with words to show the reader exactly how he saw things. Bleak House shows his strong beliefs and views about the political system of England during this time. He uses the story to show exactly how unorganized and corrupt the political system was at the time. These novels are great examples of how the setting plays a role in the story, by creating the mood and helping the reader better see into the lives of the people living during that time. The major role the setting plays in these stories is the insight into the beliefs of the author and the experiences he had growing up in and around London in the nineteenth century, as it is portrayed by him in his works.



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