Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
- Dickens was born in Hampshire England in 1812.Dickens was born Charles John Huffam Dickens on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England.
- His father was a clerk at Naval Pay Office but in 1824 Dickens’ father was imprisoned for debt.
- The entire family was sent to Marshalsea prison except Charles Dickens.
- At Black Warehouse, Dickens used to paste labels on the bottles for six shilling a week.
- Dickens attended school from 1824-1827 but left again in 1827 because his family could not pay the due rents.
- Charles Dickens learned shorthand and began his carrier as a journalist.
- He worked for London newspaper as a parliamentary reporter for two years.
- Later he joined the newspaper The Morning Chronicle where he wrote a series of sketches about London life, this also included “Sketches by Boz” (collection of stories), his first literary experiment.
- Boz was the family name of Dickens and he took this name as a pseudonym.
- His first novel was “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” in 1836-1837. It is regarded as a picaresque novel.
- It was published in a serial form in monthly installments.
- He married Catherine Hogarth who was the daughter of the editor of Morning Chronicle in 1836, but later both of them were separated.
- In 1850’s he suffered three devastating losses:
i) The death of his father
ii) Death of the daughter
iii) Separation from wife
- Dickens last novel was mystery novel entitled The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This novel remained unfinished because Dickens died in 1870 of a stroke.
- All the novels of Dickens were published serially in periodicals, especially the two edited by him– Household Woods (1850) and All the Year Round (1859). Both of them were weekly periodicals.
- He also wrote various Christmas stories. Few among them are–
1.A Christmas Carol (1843)
3.Jolly Bob Cratchit
- 4. Tiny Tim, etc.
- He became a popular novelist because his novel reflects social conditions which were prevalent in the contemporary society. His novels are about the slums, the poor houses, the debtor prison, and the area filled with stark realities of London lives.
- Acroyd is the biographer of Dickens.
Oliver Twist (1837)
- Theme– failure of charity, purity in a corrupt city and countryside. Complete title: “The Adventures of Oliver Twist”.
- The other title is: “The Parish Boy’s Progress”.
- It is a story about an orphan and illegitimate boy– Oliver Twist, who faces a miserable experience in a work house under the care of Mrs. Mann Oliver.
- She only gives meager food to Oliver.
- Mr. Bumble as a frequent visitor to this workhouse. He was an unsympathetic, cruel, and stone hearted man who did not care at all for the well beings of orphans.
- Oliver is ill-treated by his apprentice Mr. Sowerberry along with Noah Claypole (servant of Mr. Sowerberry).
- Both the apprentice made fun of Oliver’s mother and even abused her.
- Oliver prepared to go to London.
- During his journey he met Jack Dawkins (also called Arthur Dodger) who was a member of a gang of
- Dodger took Oliver to London and introduced him to an old Jew Fagin who was the head of pickpocketing
- Thus Oliver is once again trapped with the illegal elements who were doing their business with a lot of
innocent children who now use to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, etc.
- In these gangs there were two girls also, named Nancy and Betsy.
- Oliver was now under the supervision of this gang.
- One day he was caught by the police for nothing because the crime for he was caught was done by Dodger
- Because he was caught without mistake so Mr. Brownlow whose pocket was picked, felt a deep sympathy for Oliver and brought him to this own house, where he was looked after with great affection and kindness.
- Oliver soon recovered from his illness and told his whole life story to Brownlow.
- One day when Oliver was in way for some work he was seen by Nancy who tried to wrap him by using some powder to make him unconscious.
- When Oliver protested her, she said to the public that, Oliver is her brother and thus public allowed her to take Oliver away.
- Oliver again fell in the hands of criminals because Nancy took him to Fagin once again.
- Fagin gave Oliver to Bill Sikes and again Oliver was forced to do robbery.
- After a lot of attempts Mr. Brownlow came to know that Oliver is son of (illegitimate) Edwin Leeford.
- Edwin Leeford was the intimate friend of Mr. Brownlow.
- “Monks” was the legitimate son of Edwin Leeford and thushalf-brother of Oliver.
- After a lot of chaos Monks agreed to surrender and share his property with Oliver.
- In the end Nancy was murdered and Bill Sikes while escaping through a rope got his neck entangled and
struggled a lot.
- Fagin was traced and sentenced to death.
- Brownlow adopted Oliver as his own son.
- Monk after sharing his properties with Oliver indulges into criminal activities and died in a fit.
- Thus good men were rewarded and bad met their tragic end.
Nicholas Nickelby (1838)
- Complete title: “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”.
- It is the third novel of Dickens which revolves around the adventures of a young man Nicholas who has to support his mother and sister after his father dies.
- His father had lost all his money in poor investments. The novel deals with the sad conditions of boarding schools.
- Now Nicholas had to work as an assistant with a low pay to meet both ends.
- The story of Nicholas Nickelby first appeared in monthly parts but afterwards appeared in one volume.
- Important characters of the novel:
1.Ralph Nickleby – uncle of Nicholas and also a villain
2. Newman Noggs – clerk of Ralph
3. Fanny Squeers – lovee of Nicholas
4. Wackford Squeers – evil headmaster
5. Catherine Nickleby – mother of Nicholas
6. Kate Nickleby – Nicholas’ younger sister.
- The main goal of writing Nicholas Nickleby was to expose the ugly truth about Yorkshire Boarding schools.
Barnaby Rudge (1841)
- It is also titled “A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty”.
- It is a historical novel which is set during Gordon Riots of 1780 (Anti-Poverty Riots).
- It was the first historical novel of Dickens.
- Major characters of the novel are Barnaby, who is a simple man and his mother Mary.
- In the novel Reuben Haredale, a country gentleman is murdered and the murderer is never discovered.
- His brother Geoffrey Haredale and the villain John Chester are enemies.
- Chester’s son Edward is in love with Haredale’s niece, Emma.
- Once Edward saves Haredale and Emma, and wins Haredale’s favor for marriage.
- Haredale discovers the murder of his brother, the steward Rudge and Rudge is hanged.
- Sir John Chester, now a member of parliament, turns out to be the father of Hugh and is killed in a duel by Geoffrey Haredale.
- Haredale escapes to the continent where he ends his days in a monastery. Barnaby and his mother live out their years tending a farm at the Maypole Inn where Barnaby can work effectively due to his physical strength.
Charles Dickens Novel PDFs
The tale of two cities pdf
Great Expectations pdf