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Charles Dickens Essay Research Paper CHARLES DICKENSLauren

Charles Dickens Essay, Research Paper


Lauren Claborn

English 12

Charles Dickens

Thesis: Charles Dickens was a well-known author who had many

great works.

I. Biography

II. List of Works

III. Common Work

IV. Critical Evaluation

V. Conclusion

Charles Dickens was an English author. He is considered one of the greatest

authors of the Victorian period. Charles Dickens was a well-known author who had

many great works (Webster, 352).

Charles John Huffman Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport

Hampshire. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. His mother was a

housekeeper ( Kunitz182).

Charles Dickens’ father was paid well, but often brought financial embarrassment

to his family. In 1824, he was taken to debtors’ prison. Charles was taken out of

school. He was forced to work in a factory. It is obvious that in some of Dicken’s

books “the images of the prison and of the lost, oppressed, or bewildered child recur

in many of his novels.” (Webster, 352).

Dicken’s mother was well-known for her storytelling ability. She was a little out

of her social class. Her father was a naval lieutenant (Webster 352).

Charles had eight siblings. He was the second oldest. When he was young he

would occasionally have mysterious spasms, which ceased at adolescents. When

Charles was two, his father was transferred from Portsea to London. A short period

after he was transferred to Chatham (Kunitz 182).

When Charles was young, his mother taught him his alphabet. He became

interested in fiction novels from his father’s library. He was placed back in school at

the age of nine (182).

At the age of fifteen Charles Dickens became a soliciter’s clerk. He taught

himself shorthand. Charles spent most of his free time reading in the British museum.

He was promoted to court reporting, then to reporting in the House of Commons (Kunitz


During this period Dickens unsuccessfully tried to perform on stage. At the age

of eighteen he fell deeply in love with Maria Beadnell. She was sent away to Paris by

her family. She jilted Charles upon her return (Kunitz 182).

Charles Dickens first sketch was published in the Monthly Magazine, he was not

paid. He later published sketches in the Evening Chronicle. This was the first

magazine he had ever his been paid for writing. All of these sketches were issued as

a book in 1836 (Kunitz182).

Charles Dickens fell in love with Mary Hogarth, but she was too young to get

married. For some peculiar reason he married her older sister Catherine Hogarth in

1836. Mary died in 1837. Catherine and Charles were both filled with grief. Later,

they had ten children (Kunitz 182).

In 1841, Charles had surgery but that did not stop him from from writing. In

1842, Charles visited the United States, for the first time. This trip resulted in

American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit (Kunitz 182).

By this time, Charles had a house in London and Regents Park. He also had a

summerhouse at Broadstairs. Charles was making a fortune in spite of ill-advised

early contracts, and consequent quarrels with publishers (Kunitz 182).

Georgina Hogarth was Christine’s youngest sister. Georgina lived with

Charles and Christine and helped take care of the children when she was only

fifteen. Charles worked hard to provide for his large family (Kunitz 183).

At this time, Dickens was described as a slightly undersized man with delicate

features. He had fine skin, brown hair that he wore too long, and a thin, wiry beard

and whiskers. The man who was once a poor boy had become a rich man (Kunitz


Soon Charles began to act in private theatricals. His acting career took up

enormous amounts of time and energy, which interfered with his writings. In 1844

and 1845, he spent time with his family in Italy. After he returned to England,

Charles became editor of The Daily News. This was his only financial failure (Kunitz


In 1849, Charles became editor of a magazine, which was a huge success.

The magazine contained much of his own writings. The name of the magazine was

the Household Words. He remained editor of the magazine until his death (Kunitz


In 1858, it was shocking news that Dickens had separated from his wife.

The marriage was unhappy from the beginning. The English-world was shocked

that for twenty-two years they had lived together and produced ten children, without

ever really loving each other or even being compatible at all (Kunitz 183).

The oldest son went with his mother. The other children stayed with their

father and their Aunt Georgina. Charles published a letter explaining the separation

and hinting at his wife’s insanity. It was meant to only be circulated among friends,

but he published it anyway. This was the worst of Charles’ affairs (Kunitz 183).

Charles Dickens had many great works. His first book was Sketches by

Boz. This book was about his work as a journalist. His first novel was The Pickwick

Papers. He wrote the novel in 1836 and published it in 1837 (Magill 291).

After The Pickwick Papers Charles was the most popular English novelist in

his lifetime. Charles continued the story of The Pickwick Papers in Oliver Twist. He

wrote it in 1837 and published it in 1838. In The Pickwick Papers cruelties and

miseries of the real world are covered up by laughter. Another of his famous books is

Great Expectations. (Magill 291).

Great Expectations is the story of Pip’s life, and of his hopes and dreams–

some realized, some shattered. First published in hardcover in 1861, this novel of

the ancient struggle between good and evil is populated by a rich assortment of

eccentrics. Faithfully reprinted from the first London edition of the book, this volume

includes an analysis of Dickens’s original ending (Dickens 1).

A Christmas Carol is his most famous novel of all. It is also his most famous

Christmas book. It was published in 1843. It is about a man who learns the true

meaning of Christmas (Magill 290).

Ebanezer Scrooge is the main character of the novel. The novel is set near

the Christmas holidays. Scrooge is a man who does not believe in Christmas.

He is the owner of a business who would not let Hatchet, one of his employees,

off for Christmas. Scrooge treats Hatchet badly and pays him little for his hard

work. Scrooge is a cruel, greedy old man (Dickens 23).

On Christmas Eve night Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old

business partner, Marley. Marley told him that three ghost would visit him,

the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of

Christmas Future that night. He also warned him that if he did not change he

would die (Dickens 30).

After Scrooge falls asleep the Ghost of Christmas Past awakens him. The

Ghost takes him back through his past to show him all of the bad things that he had

done throughout his life. He also sees his old love and how he pushed her away,

time after time. After seeing this, Scrooge begins to feel guilty about his

behavior and wants to change (Dickens 44).

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the hardships of his

employee, Bob Crachit. The Ghost carries him to Bob’s home where Scrooge

sees for the first time the destitute lifestyle of his clerk. Scrooge also sees Tiny Tim,

Crachit’s son who is sickly (Dickens 75 ).

The Ghost of Christmas Future takes Scrooge to a graveyard and he sees his

tombstone. He also sees how people made fun of the way he was buried, and the

way he lived. Next to his tombstone was the small headstone of Tiny Tim. Seeing

this made Scrooge want to be a better person (Dickens 113).

When Scrooge wakes up, he is a changed man. He is filled with the joy of

Christmas. As he walks through the streets, he begins buying and giving away

turkeys and throwing money to all of the poor people in town. All of the townspeople

are pleased with his great change and everyone begins to like him (Dickens 140).

To understand Dickens’ nature, it must be remembered that he was the

apotheosis of the English lower middle class. Because he was an authentic

genius, he possessed all its attributes, good and bad, to a superlative degree. He

was tender-hearted, courageous, generous, supremely industrious, social-minded, a

hater of injustice and a champion of the oppressed—and he was also arrogant,

obstinate, conceited, sentimental, and a bit of a bounder. His vulgar tastelessness in

dress, which could not hide the fine distinction of his features, was no mere accident.

He was entirely without self-criticism or self-discipline (Kunitz & Haycraft 182).

Dickens was undertaking more and more of the exhausting public readings,

with the long, uncomfortable train journeys which they involved, and pouring out

manuscript as curiously as ever. He was never slovenly in his writing, and put

immense energy into it. His health broke, and in 1865 he had a slight stroke of

paralysis which should have been a warning; he was lame thereafter. In 1867

and 1868 he went to America again. This time he and the country, matured by Civil

War, were both politer to each other. He came back after a triumph, with

$20,000 and permanently broken health.. he never became well. He engaged

himself for another long reading tour, which he was to his distress, forced to leave

uncompleted. He kept on writing, and was at work on The Mystery of Edwin Drood

the day before he died. He came into the house from his writing (in a garden house

called the “Chateau”), said a few incoherent words, and fell stricken with apoplexy.

He died twenty-four hours later. Though his wish for a quiet funeral was observed, it

was not in the country graveyard he had contemplated, but in Westminster Abbey

(Kunitz 184).

Charles Dickens was one of the greatest authors of all times. Dickens was a

well-known author. He had many great works.

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Harcourt Brace & Company.

Italy: 1995. (1-80).

Crystal, David. Biographical Encyclopedia. Cambridge University

Press. New York: 1994. (277).

Kunitz and Haycraft. British Authors of the Nineteenth Century.

H.W. Wilson Company. New York: 1964. (182-184).

Magill, Frank N. Masterplots of World Authors. Dayton and

Kohler. New York: 1987. (290).

Webster, Merriam. Encyclopedia of Literature. Merriam Webster

Incorporated. Springfield: 1995. (290).