The Main Influences on Charles Dickens’ Works

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The upper class being superior to the lower class is seen in Great Expectations when Pip has to face difficulties as a result of his sister. It also shows how orphans were thought of in that day. Pip is reminded of his position and value he has in the world by his family and friends because if he wasn’t cared for, he would die. Great Expectations encompasses a character that many readers can relate to, Pip. Pip is an unfortunate orphan boy who is raised by his harsh sister. Pip is said to be a “self-portrait of the author” because of the hardships he encounters.

“Copperfield is an expose of the darker workings in society that considers itself enlightened.” David is another example of the orphaned children during the Victorian Era. It brings out the truth of the undermining of child labor. It shows the consequences and results of the abuse from society. When David at the end put his pen to his paper, it was resembling Dickens’ life. Charles is putting forth the society he grew up in, but gives the result of his; even though most children ended up in much more dreadful places. David Copperfield, like Oliver Twist, creates a character that Charles probably empathized with. David worked as a child factory worker. He also was mistreated by his stepfather; probably feelings Dickens had about his own father. David attended a boarding school and faced many hardships through his life. Oliver Twist pictures another victim of child labor. Throughout this novel, it shows the contradictions between good and evil. It brings forth not only the horrific child labor, but also the other evil that lies in the society. It shows and gives an example of a gang that Oliver got caught up with. This exposed more of London’s society like the lower class and how they were mistreated.

Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is based and influenced on his own experiences as a boy. Oliver is a victim of child labor, which brought forth miseries and loneliness of these children to the reader. Oliver escapes his undertaker, whom he is sold to, and meets a gang which leads criminal activities in London. Charles forms this character, being able to relate to how Oliver would actually feel.

In A Christmas Carol, it exposes the skepticism and assumptions that are made by each class. Scrooge is on the upper end of the classes and assumes that all the poor are wretched and he shouldn’t associate with them. On the lower end is Tiny Tim, who sees the upper class neglecting his own. This showed of society the class presumptions made by each person from each of their stand points.

A Christmas Carol by Dickens depicts one of his most famous characters, Tiny Tim. He comes from an extremely perished family that can’t afford the medicine and doctors he needs. Tiny Tim is sick, and without the care he needs, he is predicted to die. Dickens frames this character so the reader wants to help him and creates a feeling of sympathy towards him. The Victorian era was a very gruesome time, especially for children. While Dickens was growing up, child labor was accepted and quite regular. Child labor at its root was because of poverty. It stripped children from their youth, education, and lives. Dickens, being a victim of child labor, was able to form characters in his novels that the readers would be able to connect with. In doing this, he was able to expose the bitter truth of these poor children and what they were forced to do. Tomalin said in her biography of Charles Dickens that “He is at best as a man, determined in argument, generous in giving help… motivated purely by his profound sense that it was wrong that [the accused] should be victimized further.”

G. K. Chesterton said dickens was “the spokesman of the poor.” He did this by the creation of poor characters, which the reader could sympathize for. He showed how they struggled and the challenges they face. In his works, he brought out the good that could be seen in them, and revealed what they deserved. Dickens saw and took advantage of using his literature for use of analyzing society. He showed the problems of his day by using the characters he created to show the economic injustice and the conditions of the society. By doing this, he had a major impact on the spark of public opinion.

Dicken’s background contributed to his beliefs of society. He used his fiction to criticize and scrutinize the “economic, social, and moral abuses in the Victorian era.” He was aware of the social abuses, knowing from past experiences. Dickens was digressing after his last America tour. He collapsed at one of the tours, causing an abrupt end to them. He died in June 1870 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His last speech was at London with the famous words: “From these garnish lights I vanish now for evermore.” Dickens aged prematurely in his early 50s. He suffered from gout, piles, neuralgia, and a minor stroke. At 58 years old, leaving his unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1870. At the last few years of his life, he was world renown and was at the pinnacle of his wealth. During the time that Dickens began to write Bleak House, many tragic events were occurring. Only at eight months old, his daughter died. Also, his father passes away, both of which, have a grueling affect and influence on him, as seen evident in his writing. Bleak House was about death and spontaneous combustion.

Dickens started his writing with the Pickwick Papers at age 24. From 1839-1841, he wrote Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Barnaby Rudge. In 1843 when he was 31, he published his world famous A Christmas Carol. He began to produce more thought out novels like Dombey and Son and David Copperfield. After he was faced with challenges in his life, he wrote more somber and melancholy works like Bleak House, Hard Times, and Little Dorrit. Near the end of his life, he wrote some of his most famous works: A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. He passed away before finishing The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Charles Dickens wrote about a world that he grew up knowing, not the one he lived in during the time he became an author. His childhood instilled “him with a deep interest in social reform.” These went along side with others wanting to reform the Victorian age. Hence, his novels brought these reforms of the society out to his world-wide audiences. It gave them another perspective of what was going on right in front of their faces.

Dickens published The Posthumonous Papers of the Pickwick Club, which was meant as captions for Robert Seymour’s sport-themed illustrations. These became famous, not for the illustrations, but the stories and captions formed. He also became an editor for multiple magazines like “Household Words” and “All the Year Round.” At age 15, Charles had to quit school again to help contribute to his family by working. This started him towards his writing career. He began by freelance reporting for law courts at London. After a few years, he began reporting for newspapers in London. He submitted sketches under the name “Boz” to newspaper and magazine companies; which eventually published into his first book Sketches by Boz.

At 15, Dickens started working as a junior clerk in a lawyer’s office. By his mid-twenties, he had been making a living for over 10 years. Sketches by Boz and The Pickwick Papers were published by the time he was 24. John Dickens was imprisoned for debt when Charles was a child. This poverty caused Charles to not have the opportunity to be able to have an education. Instead, he was sent to work in a blacking factory near the Hungerford bridge at age 12. Theses years of his life were deemed shameful in Charles’ eyes. Dickens working in the blacking factory was probably the most important season of his life. During this time, he came to realize how messed up his world was. “His rage at social injustice, his sensitivity to the fate of abandoned children, his never-satisfied hunger for financial and emotional security: all this can be traced back to his time sticking labels onto bottles of Warren’s blacking.” From this season on, the difficulties he had to endure, shaped who he came to be.

Dickens family growing up was very poor. His education was non-existent because of the lack of funds to afford it. Before his father was arrested, his parents managed to save enough funds to supply one child to have an education. This child was Charles’ sister, not Charles. After working at the factory for over a year, he was finally released from his duties. He rarely talked about this time in his life. Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, Hampshire. His family and himself moved to London in 1815. His father, John Dickens, was a clerk at the pay office of the Royal Dockyard. John was posted there in London, and brought his with when he was.


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