Charles Dickens: appunto in inglese



2.5 (2)
Numero di pagine:3
Formato di file:.doc (Microsoft Word)
Download   Anteprima (Dimensione: 6.04 Kb)
readme.txt     59 Bytes
trucheck.it_charles-dickens:-appunto-in-inglese.doc     27.5 Kb


Charles DICKENS (1812-70)

Life and works
Dickens was born in Portsmouth. He had an unhappy childhood, since his father went to prison for debt and he had to work in a factory at the age of twelve. These days of sufferings were to inspire much of the content of his novel. When he realized that he had a talent for writing, he taught himself short and became a newspaper reporter.
His autobiographical novels are Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit; their protagonist all became the symbols of an exploited childhood confronted with the grim and bitter realities of slums and factories. Other work includes Bleak House, Hard times and Great Expectations, dealing with social issues, such as the conditions of the poor and the working class in general. These entire novels gave him wealth and fame. He also had a busy life as a magazine editor. He spent his last years travelling round giving readings of his own work.
In the novels “David Copperfield” and “Oliver Twist”, Dickens attacks one or more social evils: debtor’s prisons, workhouses, repressive education, capital punishment and conformism masked by religion and justice. In all these novels, the greatest victims are the children either individually or in groups, often ill-treated, exploited in the hardest jobs (mining, textile industry), starved or beaten to death. Another important topic is his criticism of the top role of money in the Victorian materialistic society.

Focus on the text: Hard Times
Hard Times is the only novel not set in London, in fact it is set in an imaginary industrial town. One of the main characters is Mr Gradgrind, the owner of a typical Victorian school. He has two children, Tom and Louisa, and he brings them up teaching them the principles which are taught in his school. He marries his daughter to a ruthless manufacturer, but she is nearly seduced by a politician, James. Tom has become unscrupulous and calculating.
Sissy, was father works in a circus, is found ineducable by Mr Gradrind. Later she became one of his depandants, and she finds the force to help his daughter Louisa because she faces James and compels him to leave the town. Tom takes some money from the bank where he works, he decides to confess his crime to his father, who makes him go abroad. Gradrind has to admit that he is a failure both as father and as a teacher.

Limitation of Dickens:
• Lack of organic unity (that’s natural because his works were published in serial forms);
• Lack of real psychological insight;
• Excessive pathos and sentimentalism;
• Exaggerated comic scenes, which become grotesque.
A didactic aim
The novelist's ability lay both in making his readers love his children, and putting them forward as models of the way people ought to behave to one another. This didactic stance was very effective, since the result was that the more educated, the wealthier classes throughout England acquired a knowledge of their poorer neighbours of which many were previously almost ignorant.
Style of Dickens: His language is resourceful, full of analogies, short sentences that illuminate the characters, outrageous. He had a natural sense of humour that has kept alive the characters of his novels up to the present time. Powerful imagination; His characters cover a wide range of people; He holds the reader’s attention; His style is fluent and effective; His occasional use of symbolism.
Charles Dickens is the symbol of the deep contradictions typical of the Victorian Age and embodies what was both positive and negative in it. He condemned the rigidity of the Victorian morality but he was imbued with it: he denounced the evils of his society but he was not able to propose radical solutions for them.
He identifies the origin of social evils in man’s hypocrisy, lack of love and greed for money. All Dickens’s novels were published in serial form and editors imposed a censorship on the writers.
This type of publication became very popular because it provided to buy fiction at a very low price. The reading public increased, including the low middle class. His novels were often pervaded by too much sentimentalism, sensationalism and melodrama.
The restrictions imposed by popular tastes and exigencies resulted in a lack of balance in the plots of many of his novels.
Dickens’s novels are also characterised by an episodic structure. In the end good and justice were triumph: his ideas of justice was idealised. The narrator is usually third person and omniscient. Dickens’s style is clear, vivid and effective: journalistic.

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist is a child of unknown parents, born in a workhouse, where he leads a miserable existence under the tyranny of Bumble.
He runs away to London and meets a boy dressed as a man, the Artful Dodger, who takes him to the old Jew, a teacher of theft’s art. Oliver is caught to the police but he is acquitted. He is taken home by Mr Brownlow who notice the likeness between Oliver and the portrait of a young man in his house. A mysterious figure, Monks wants to know all about Oliver. He reveals that he is Oliver’s brother. His father was a friend of Mr Brownlow. Oliver is adopted by Mr Brownlow and begins a new life.