The biography and Charles Dickens's creativity

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Introductory Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, and spent the first nine years of his life living in the coastal regions of Kent, a county in southeast England. Dickens’s father, John, was a kind and likable man, but he was incompetent with money and piled up tremendous debts throughout his life. When Dickens was nine, his family moved to London. When he was twelve, his father was arrested and taken to debtors’ prison. Dickens’s mother moved his seven brothers and sisters into prison with their father, but she arranged for the young Charles to live alone outside the prison and work with other children pasting labels on bottles in a blacking warehouse. Dickens found the three months he spent apart from his family highly traumatic. Not only was the

job itself miserable, but he considered himself too good for it, earning the contempt of the other children. After his father was released from prison, Dickens returned to school. He eventually became a law clerk, then a court reporter, and finally a novelist. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, became a huge popular success when Dickens was only twenty-five. Great Expectations was first published as a weekly series in 1860 and in book form in 1861. Early critics had mixed reviews, disliking Dickens' tendency to exaggerate both plot and characters, but readers were so enthusiastic that the 1861 edition required five printings. It was set in early Victorian England, a time when great social changes were sweeping the nation. The Industrial Revolution of

the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had transformed the social landscape, enabling capitalists and manufacturers to amass huge fortunes. Although social class was no longer entirely dependent on the circumstances of one’s birth, the divisions between rich and poor remained nearly as wide as ever. More and more people moved from the country to the city in search of greater economic opportunity. Throughout England, the manners of the upper class were very strict and conservative: gentlemen and ladies were expected to have thorough classical educations and to behave appropriately in innumerable social situations. These conditions defined Dickens’s time, and they make themselves felt in Great Expectations. Pip, the novel’s protagonist, lives in the

marsh country, works at a job he hates, considers himself too good for his surroundings, and experiences material success in London at a very early age, exactly as Dickens himself did. In addition, one of the novel’s most appealing characters, Wemmick, is a law clerk, and the law, justice, and the courts are all important components of the story. Pip’s sudden rise from country laborer to city gentleman forces him to move from one social extreme to another while dealing with the strict rules and expectations that governed Victorian England. Ironically, this novel about the desire for wealth and social advancement was written partially out of economic necessity. In form, Great Expectations fits a pattern popular in nineteenth-century European fiction depicting

growth and personal development, generally a transition from boyhood to manhood such as that experienced by Pip. I have read the Russian version of this book and I liked the plot very much. Then I read it in original version. I especially liked the way author showed Pip’s growth from little boy to a gentleman, also his feelings, changes in his outlooks. The part where he starts to realize that social class or money do not matter, when one has no human values and qualities, is my favorite part in the novel. After reading this book I analysed and uncovered new life-situations for us, the young, and came to the conclusion that in spite of the importance of education, proper behavior, it is not less important to gain and maintain certain values and stay true to them throughout