Dickens was, most of all, a storyteller; his novels were influenced by a lot of things:
fables and nursery rhymes;
by the 18th century novelists;
by Gothic novels.
His plots at the time sounded a bit artificial and sentimental.
Dickens’ works were influenced a lot by the taste and the opinions of the public: he published his novels in monthly or weekly instalments, so between one publication and another, Dickens found out what the public liked and so he shaped the next episodes on the public’s opinions; in fact, we can totally see that his works don’t have a coherent plot.
The set of his works was always London: he knew the city and in fact his works are full of details.
First, Dickens always used middle class characters, though he satirised them. Then he developed a more social view: he wasn’t a revolutionary thinker, but he became gradually a critic of the society.
In his works we can find a lot of caricatures: he exaggerated the social characteristics of the middle, low and lower classes, using their dialogues.
His female characters, black and white, were weak.
Children are the most important in Dickens’ novels. In his novels we see that the natural order of things is reversed: the parents are hypocritical and don’t teach anything, while the children are good and they are the real moral teachers.
His readers, in fact, loved his children, which were see as models.
Dickens didn’t want to induce revolution, he just wanted to motivate the common intelligence of the country to alleviate undeniable sufferings.
He uses a lot the technique of juxtaposition of images and idea, and we can also find several powerful descriptions of life and characters; he uses an effective language, so that his messages could be received by everyone.