Charles Dickens


Charles Dickens is the most representative novelist of the first phase of the Victorian Age (the second phase starts after Darwin's theory; it was characterized by scientific progress that shows the uncertainty of the future, leading to a pessimistic view of life) . He is conscious of the wickness and injustice of his society and choose to portray this aspects in his novels; anyway he still share an optimistic view of life and a hope in the future that characterizes all the first phase of the Age and is reflected in Dickens' plots; indeed his protagounist are children that are always victims of an injust socety but at the end, in spite of their unhappy condition they find happiness. Dickens chooses pollution and exploitation as the themes dealt with in his novels and sets his plots in big cities, portraying what happens in the subborgs, where the workhouses were built.
Dickens novels are often set in cities because his aim was to denounce the problems related to industrialization and pollution. He was great in the description of industrial settings and towns, achieving his goal of transmitting the atmosphere that could be found in the dreadful areas where criminals and the lower social classes lived. Dickens never accuse openly the institution for the degradation of society but he attributes the responsability to an evil man, who is the villain of the novel and is considered a scapegoat.
Dickens novel are educational novels indeed the autor's aim is to denounce in order to involve the institution and stimulate the attenction of the ruling classes because they are the ones that can solve the issues of the time, even if they are not responsable for it. That's why Dickens also focuses on the description of characters belonging to the upper classes, who are portrayed in a posit
ive way because they were often the saviors of the story (they help the protagounist saving him from desperate situations). This choice shows Dickens' point of view and his confidence in the possibility that the ruling class could solve all the problems of the nation.
His narrative style often employs the third person narrator tecnique; this choice is meant to influence the reader's judjement: indeed the narrator (who is the speaking voice) is omniscent and he identifies with the novelist, so the readers are gradually led to agree with the author's point of view because of the presence of comments and exclamations of the narrator that actually belong to Dickens.
Dickens was able to create unforgettable characters thanks to the vivid tecnique employed: indeed he uses repetitions, long series of adjectives, metaphors, similies
and words meant to stimulate the senses perception and to break the tension of climax moments in the narration. Dickens' criticism was never harsh, indeed the strenght of his style is humour, trought which he can make the strong points of his novel more impressive.
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