Dickens' Use of the Word Hand

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Dickens' Use of the Word Hand

[Dickens'] genius is descriptive; he can describe a thing so vividly—and so influentially—that no one can look at that thing in the same way again.

John Irving

The King of the Novel

Descriptive Dickens' Use of the Word "Hand"

Charles Dickens' description in Great Expectations is a telling example of why people consider him one of the greatest and most successful novelists ever. Dickens uses his talent for descriptive writing throughout Great Expectations to develop his characters and themes. Many of these themes emerge from Dickens' personal experiences, specifically his emphasis on the importance of education and his ideas that wealth and position are corrupting. While the themes of education and position were common during the Victorian era, Dickens had an uncommon insight into these themes.

Peter Ackroyd notes that Dickens was born the son of an Admiralty clerk, the second of eight children. At the time of Dickens' birth, his family was relatively well to-do. However, this comfortable lifestyle was short-lived due to his father's inability to manage the family's financial affairs. In a sense, his father's incompetence removed Charles from a genteel life and forced him into life as a factory worker. Dickens always felt betrayed by his parents, particularly his mother, because she suggested that Charles should work in a factory. It seems that these series of events are what first focused Dickens on the importance of education, especially considering that he wrote of his father,

[…] in the ease of his temper, and the straitness of his means, he appeared to have utterly lost at this time the idea of educating me at all, and to have ut...

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