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Charles Dickens
This report will talk about the life of a famous author, Charles Dickens. It will tell you about his early, middle, and later years of his life. It will also talk about one of his great works of literature. In conclusion, this report will show a comparison of his work to his life. Charles Dickens was born at Landport, in Portsea, on February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay-Office, and was temporarily on duty in the neighborhood when Charles was born. His name was John Dickens. He spent time in prison for debts. But, even when he was free he lacked the money to support his family. Then, when Charles was two they moved to London. 1 Just before he started to toddle, he stepped into the glare of footlights. He never stepped out of it until he died. He was a good man, as men go in the bewildering world of ours, brave, transparent, tender-hearted, and honorable. Dickens was always a little too irritable because he was a little too happy. Like the over-wrought child in society, he was splendidly sociable, and yet sometimes quarrelsome. In all the practical relations of his life, he was what the child is at a party, genuinely delighted, delightful, affectionate and happy, and in some strange way fundamentally sad and dangerously close to tears. 2. At the age of 12, Charles worked in a London factory pasting labels on bottles of shoe polish. He held the job only for a few months, but the misery of the experience remained with him all his life. 3. Dickens attended school off and on until he was 15 years old, and then left for good. He enjoyed reading and was especially fond of adventure stories, fairy tales, and novels. He was influenced by such earlier English writers as William Shakespeare, Tobias Smollet, and Henry Fielding. However, most of the knowledge he later used as an author came from his environment around him. 4 Dickens became a newspaper writer and reporter in the late 1820's. He specialized in covering debates in Parliament, and also wrote feature articles. His work as a reporter sharpened his naturally keen ear for conversation and helped develop his skill in portraying his characters speach realistically. It also increased his ability to observe and to write swiftly and clearly. Dickens' first book, Sketches by Boz (1836) consisted of articles he wrote for the Monthly Magazine and the London Evening Chronicles.5. On April 2, 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth, just a few days before the anoucement that on the 31st he would have his first work printed in "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club". This was the beginning of his career. 6. At 24, Dickens became famous and remained so until he died. He won his first literary fame with "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club". Published in monthly parts in 1836 and 1837, the book describes the humorous adventure and misadventures of the English Countryside. After a slow start, "The Pickwick Papers", as the book was usually called, gained a popularity seldom matched in the history of literature. 7. In 1837, when Catherine's sister Mary, died, Dickens' suffered a lot of grief. This led some scholars to believe that Dickens loved Mary more than Catherine. Catherine was a good woman but she lacked intelligence. Dickens and Catherine had 10 children. Then later in 1858, the couple separated. 8 In his later years, he added two main additions to his previous activites. The first was a series of public readings and lectures which he began giving systematically and the second was becoming a successful editor. Dickens followed many career paths; he was a reporter , an actor, a conjurer, a poet, a lecturer, and an editor. 9. Dickens had a remarkable mental and physical energy. He recorded all his activites in thousands of letter, many of which made delightful readings. He spent much of his later life with crowded social friends from arts and literature. He also went to the theater as often as he could, cause he loved drama. Dickens also produced and acted in small theaters to give public readings of his work.10 Besides doing all this after his retirement he got involved in various charities . These charities included schools for poor children and a loan society to enable the poor to move to Australia. 11. Then about 1865 his health started to decline and he died of a stroke on June 9, 1870. 12 Dickens's work, "Great Expectations" is about a guy who is in love with a girl. The theme of a youth's discovery of the realities of life. An unknown person provides the young hero, Pip, with money so that he can live as a gentleman. Pip's pride is shattered when he learns that he loses Estella forever, the source of his "great expectation". Only by painfully revising his values does Pip reestablish his life on a foundation of sympathy, rather than on vanity, possesions, and social position. His story line of "Great Expectations" is closely related to his own life. It deals with the same problems he faced when he lost Catherine and how his life was before he became rich and famous. He also created scenes and descriptions of places that have delighted readers. Dickens was a keen observer of life and had a great understanding of humanity, especially of young people. The warmth and humor of his personality appeared in all of his works. Endnotes: 1. G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens The Last of The Great Men, American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942 pg.19 2. Ibid, pg. 21-22 3. Johnson, Edgar, His Tragedy and Triumph. Rev. ed. Viking, 1977, pg. 20 4. Ibid, pg. 27 5. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990 pg. 193 6. G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens The Last of the Great Men, American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942 pg. 50 7. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990 pg. 193 8. Johnson, Edgar, His Tragedy and Triumph. Rev. ed. Viking, 1977, pg. 53 9. G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens The Last of the Great Men, American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942 pg. 167 10. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990 pg.195 11. Ibid 12. Ibid Bibliography: Chesterton, G.K., "The Last of the Great Men" American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942. Johnson, Edgar, "His Tragedy and Triumph" Rev. ed. Viking, 1977. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990


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