Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens is the most widely read Victorian writer. The Victorian era, 1837-1901, was an era of new social developments that caused many of the writers of the period to take positions on the new developments in society. Dickens petitioned that social consciousness would overcome social misery. He often wrote in satire of the society around him, a smug and genius approach to the social injustices that he witnessed, making it widely available to the general public, educating them of the abuses that plagued the Victorian age. Dickens’ popularity as a writer gave some importance to his written attacks on the abuses of courts and schools, whose objects were not the education of children or the justice of citizens, but the fortification of the proprietors. Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England in 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens. (http://www.helsinki.fi/kasv/nokol/dickens.html) He was the second of eight children and he was raised on the assumption that he would receive an education if he worked hard. Charles Dickens’ father, John, on whom Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield is based, fell into deep financial debt and was arrested and imprisoned. Due to his families financial crisis, Dickens went to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory labeling bottles, but after his father’s debts were paid, he continued his education at Wellington House Academy from 1824 to 1826. After his education was complete, he became a court reporter for various newspaper sources until he devoted his time to writing. Dickens’ first published work appeared in December of 1833 in the Monthly Magazine, followed by nine other works. These writings were collected into two volumes Turner2 and published in 1836. The time spent as a reporter made Dickens familiar with the middle and lower classes of London and his familiarity is displayed in the two volume set of his early works. These volumes also reveal his humor and concern for the less fortunate classes and his desires for social justice, two popular themes that often dominate his novels. Dickens wed Catherine Hogarth and they had ten children before their separation in 1858. Regardless of his wedding vows to Catherine, he was always secretly in love with her younger sister Mary, who lived with the Dickens’ shortly after the honeymoon. Wh... ... middle of paper ... ... It is safe to assume that most of Charles Dickens life shaped the lives of the characters in his novels. Dickens was able to draw from his own experiences and project them into his literary works. Dickens possessed excellent observation, greater than that of any writer at the time and he was able to put his observations into the public eye and cause attention to be drawn to them. He was mostly a political writer, writing about society and how he and his characters fit into it. Charles Dickens is regarded by many to be the greatest writer in the English language. The epitaph on his tombstone in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey reads: "He was a sympathizer to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world". And it is my belief that the inscription on his headstone sums up why Charles Dickens is significant to literature. He causes his readers to think, and to have cathartic experiences through his characters to reach a deeper layer of themselves. He encourages us to stand up against social injustice, to remain optimistic and self sacrificing and to never forget those less fortunate than ourselves.

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