The Life Of Charles Dickens Essay Research

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The Life Of Charles Dickens Essay, Research Paper The Life of Charles Dickens Charles Dickens was a nineteenth-century novelist who was and still is very popular. He was born in Landport, a region of Portsmouth, on February 7, 1812 (Kyle 1). Charles Dickens was the son of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow. John Dickens was a minor government official who worked in the Navy Pay Office. Through his work there, he met Elizabeth and eventually married her. By 1821, when Charles was four months old, John Dickens could no longer afford the rent on his house. John Dickens loved to entertain his friends with drinks and conversation. Throughout his life, he was very short of money and in debt. He often had to borrow money to pay off the debt and borrow more money to pay off the people

he borrowed the money from. Later on, John Dickens was transferred again to work in the naval dockyard at Chatman. It was here that Charles Dickens’ earliest and clearest memories were formed (Mankowitz 9-14). Charles’ education included being taught at home by his mother, attending a Dame School at Chatman for a short time, and Wellington Academy in London. He was further educated by reading widely in the British Museum (Huffam). In late 1822, John was needed back at the London office, so they had to move to London. This gave Charles opportunities to walk around the town with his father and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. This gave him early inspiration that he would use later on in his life when he started to write (Mankowitz 13-14). James Lamert, the

owner of a boot-blacking factory, saw the conditions that the Dickens family was going through. He offered Charles a job there and he was paid six shillings a week which was reasonable at that time. Soon, he was moved downstairs in the sweatshop-like room. Charles had been working at the factory for less than two weeks when his father was arrested for debt. He was sent to debtors prison where he did work to pay off his debt. John paid for Charles’ lodging, but Charles had to pay for his food and everything else with the six shillings he earned every week. The details of London and of prison life were imprinting themselves into Dickens’ memory and would one day help him in the novels he wrote. After John was in prison for three months, his mother died leaving him enough money

to get out of debtors prison (Mankowitz 20-22). Late in Charles’ teens, he became a court reporter. This introduced him to journalism, and he also became interested in politics. Some of his early short stories and sketches, which were published in various London newspapers and magazines, were compiled in 1836 to form his first book, Sketches by Boz. This book sold well (Huffam). In 1837, he wrote another book called Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. It was written in monthly installments. Dickens had become the most popular author in England by the time the fourth installment was done. This period is now known as Dickens’ ?early period? because of the interest he was gaining for his novels. During this period, he wrote Sketches by Boz, Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick

Club, Oliver Twist (1838), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1839), and The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) (Huffam). In 1842, Dickens traveled to the US hoping to gain support for his liberal political ideas. He returned to England deeply disappointed. He wrote two books expressing how he felt about the US. These books mainly criticized the US for not having a copyright law, the acceptance of slavery, and the vulgarity of the people. These books were American Notes for General Circulation (1842) and The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). Chuzzlewit was a big failure, but many critics believed it was a critical turning point in his career because he realized that greed corrupted the human soul. This is known as his ?middle period?. During this period, he