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Charles Dickens A Brief Introduction Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portse, England. His father was a Navy Pay clerk and was horrible.

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Presentation on theme: "Charles Dickens A Brief Introduction Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portse, England. His father was a Navy Pay clerk and was horrible."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charles Dickens A Brief Introduction Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portse, England. His father was a Navy Pay clerk and was horrible at handling finances. At the age of 12, Dickens was sent to work at the Warrens Blacking Factory, where he hated working. His father rescued him from work and was able to send him to day school in London from 1824 to

2 At age fifteen Charles found employment as an office boy for an attorney. In 1829 he became a reporter at Doctor's Commons Courts. By 1832 he became a shorthand reporter of Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons and a reporter for a newspaper and adopted his famous name “Boz”

3 He wrote a series of texts called Sketches by Boz, which were published in He was also hired to write short texts called The Pickwick Papers to accompany humorous sports illustrations designed by artist Robert Seymour. The Pickwick Papers were published through November 1837 and became an enormous success

4 Dickens became a fulltime novelist after the success of The Pickwick Papers. In 1837 he started writing Oliver Twist and it continued in monthly parts through April of In 1838 he began Nicholas Nickleby and it was completed in In July of 1844, A Christmas Carol was published and proved to be another successful work

5 A few works were published between A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield. In 1859 parts of A Tale of Two Cities was published in his weekly paper All the Year Round. At about the same time Great Expectations also appeared weekly until August of

6  Gradually his health worsened and in 1869 he experienced a mild stroke. He began working on the Mystery of Edwin Drood. His final weekly reading took place in London in On June 8, he suffered another stroke and died the next day. He was buried at Westminster Abbey on June 14 and the last episode of Mystery of Edwin Drood appeared in September of

7 As one of the greatest critical realist writers of the Victorian Age, Dickens has a serious intention to expose and criticize all the poverty, injustice, hypocrisy and corruptness he sees all around him. But he bears very complicated social attitudes. On one hand, he hates the state apparatus. On the other, he can in no way supply any fundamental solution to the social plights, as a bourgeois writer

8 It seems that the best he can do is to try to retain optimism, as is shown in his early works, or to express a helpless indignant protest, as is shown in his later novels. At the same time he hopes to call people's attention to the existing social problems and bring about some reform or amelioration. And yet, whatever his limitations, he is loved and admired by millions of people

9 His early novels (up to 1850) are attacks on specific social evils. Oliver Twist attacks the dehumanizing workhouse system and the dark, criminal underworld life; Nicholas Nickleby is an attack of the Yorkshire School where children are not taught anything but actually treated as slaves at the master's house

10 The Pickwick Paper criticizes legal fraud; David Copperfield exposes the debtor's prison. Martin Chuzzlewit and Dombey and Son exposes the money-worship that dominates people's life, corrupts the young and brings tragedy to Mr. Dombey's family

11 A full map and a large-scale criticism of the nineteenth century England can be found in these works. Most of these works are deeply rooted in his knowledge of that petty- bourgeois urban world which he knows from its prestigious absurdity to its most sordid squalor

12 We may find a combination of optimism about people and realism about the society. Here, the techniques are comparatively straightforward and the objects of his attack are easily recognizable. Once the abuse has been overcome, the way is open to a happy conclusion. This youthful brightness and optimism is also manifest in the constant jokes and laughers

13 His later works show his development towards a highly conscious artist of the modem type. The physical settings are sometimes a mixture of the contemporary and the recollected past. The stories, though usually double- or multiple-plotted, are much better structured, and the institutions are important not only in themselves but as metaphors for a repressive social psychology

14 All of the works, except A Tale of Two Cities, criticize a more complicated and yet most fundamental social institutions and morals of the Victorian England. Bleak House (1852 ~ 1853) criticizes the legal system and practices that aim at devouring every penny of the clients. Little Dorrit criticizes the governmental branches which run an indefinite procedure of management of affairs and keep the innocent in prison for life

15 Hard Times criticizes the Utilitarian principle that rules over the English education system and destroys young hearts and minds. Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend criticize the overwhelming social environment which brings moral degeneration and destruction to people

16 The attack now becomes more urgent and passionate, and this urgency creates novels of great compactness and concentration. As Dickens “explores more bleakly a bleaker world,” there are fewer jokes and the comedy becomes harsher. His laughter ceases to be free, or rather, carefree; it becomes constantly inhibited by the consciousness of the unfunny side of life. The happy ending is there no more

17 In story-telling, Charles Dickens is a master. He engages the reader's attention with his first sentence, and holds it to the end. As a result of years' intimacy and rich imagination, the settings of his stories have an extraordinary vividness

18 In language, he is often compared with Shakespeare for his adeptness with the vernacular and large vocabulary with which he brings out wonderful verbal picture of man and scene. His humor and wit seem inexhaustible

19 The most distinctive feature of his works is character- portrayal. Among a vast range of various characters marked out by some peculiarity in physical traits, speech or manner, are both types and individuals. His best-depicted characters are those innocent, virtuous, persecuted, helpless child characters such as Oliver Twist, Little Nell, David Copperfield and Little Dorrit

20 And he is also famous for the depiction of those horrible and grotesque characters like Fagin, Bill, and Quilp, and those broadly humorous or comical ones like Mr. Micawber and Sam Weller. However, these characters are impressive not only because they are true to life, but also because they are often larger than life. They are, in a way, the embodiments of human beings, with some particular features exaggerated and highlighted, exposed to the degree of extremity

21 Dickens' works reveal a mingling of humor and pathos. Perhaps he believes that life is itself a mixture of joy and grief. Life is delightful because it is at once comic and tragic. He is a humorist. Whether he exaggerates a person's physical traits to achieve a dramatic effect or to ridicule his personal defects, to be light-heartedly jocular or bitterly satirical, he is sure to produce roaring laughter or understanding smiles

22 To match his humorous genius, Dickens is also noted for his pictures of pathos. The pain strikes people to the heart. People can't help shedding tears. No one who has ever read the death-bed scenes of little Nell (The Old Curiosity Shop) and little Paul (Dombey and Son) can forget them

23 Nonetheless, here also lies the danger for Dickens. Sometimes the artist seems so anxious to wring an extra tear from the readers that he indulges himself in excessive sentimental melodrama and spoils the story. Yet, for all that, Charles Dickens is one of the greatest Victorian writers, and one of those to be remembered forever


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