Other StylisticFeatures Used by Charles Dickens in «Oliver Twist»


Dickens s novels first appeared in monthly installments, including «Oliver Twist» (1837–1839), which depicts the London underworld and hard years of the foundling Oliver Twist.

Charles Dickens is considered to be one of the greatest English novelists of the period. Dickens works are characterized by alters on social evils, injustice and hypocrisy.

In the thirties of the XIX century English capitalism entered a new stase of development. England become a classical capitalist country. At the some time England was experiencing on, acclamation of contradiction both at home and abroad. In India and Ireland national-liberation monuments were developing while the metropolis itself witnessed powerful upsurge of labor movement known as chartist. The period of this tense stresses was attended by the appearance of a new literary current-critical realism. The critical realism of the 19th centre flourished in the 1840s and in the beginnings of the1850s. One of the greatest writers of this period was Charles Dickens a brilliant novelist who revealed truths of his time «Hard Time» he called this time.

Oliver Twist is one of the best works of Charles Dickens, Belinsky V.G a well-known Russian critic wrote. The merit of the novel is in its truth to reality, sometimes arousing indignation, always full of every and humor, its fault is in the ending which is in the mourner of the sentimental hovels of the past centre…

All the of «Oliver Twist», of the good cranks and villains in particular, and delaine sharply and ritually».

The novel was written in 1837–38. It tells the story of an orphan boy of unknown parentage. Born in a workhouse, brought up under cruel conditions, the hero runs away from the workhouse to London, were he falls into the hands of a song of thieves. He is resented from them by the benevolent rich Mr. Brownlow, but the thieves make him join the once again and partake in their foul dealings. The novel ends with Oliver Twist being adapted by Mr. Brownlow. The adventures of the boy-hero were used by Dickens to describe the lower depth of London. He makes his readers awes at the in humanity of city life under the conditions of capitalism. The main hero of the novel is a kind boy but he is thrown into the awful conditions under which the children of the poor were brush-up. The novel exposes he cruelth of the bourgois philathopists.

1. Topicality of the theme

Charles Dickens life was very hard. His childhood was an unhappy period. His childhood passed in stresses for surviving in difficult conations of the XIX century England. His novel «Little Darrit» is about miserable life of his parents.

One of the creators of characters in all the world s literature is the British novelist Charles Dickens. His novel «David Copperfield» describes one of D… tourist character named Uriah Heep. The story is harried by its win hero, David Copperfield a young boy. He has arrived at Mr. Wickfield s, were he is to board while altitudes school. Mr. Wickfield has allowed practice. The story is set in the mid-nineteenth century, Charles Dickens stile is very unique and original. He uses in some time he uses short sentences, especially when he wants deemphasize something important. It is repetition are also interesting and we have them almost in all his book. «Oliver Twist» can give us some imagination about its author s style. Here we have many examples of using polysemantic words. One of such wage we come across in chapter II. Oliver had not been within the walls of the workhouse a quarter of an hour, and had scarily completed the devolution of second slice of bread, when Mr. Bambel, who had handed him over to the core of an old woman, returned, and telling him it was board had said hi was to happen before it forth word.

In this sentence one should pay attention to his to the words «workhouse» and «board». The first is public institution for reception of paupers in a parish or group of parishes. The inhabitants of workhouses were selected to most brutal exploitation. In «Oliwer Twist» Dickens gives a realistic picture of the horrible existence in workhouse.

The word board has many meanings the meaning is

Oliver Twist» is an excellent, fascinating and compelling novel which I had the pleasure of reading. This book is exceptionally well narrated which distinguishes Dickens as one of the greatest English story writers. The issues he raised are timeless particularly societal issues pertaining to dealing with poverty, class differences, child labour, orphans and the disadvantaged in society. He highlights the need to care for others and not to be selfish. Dickens did a good job of enlightening the middle class in Britain of the hardships that the poor had to endure during his time.

Oliver Twist is a very young, innocent orphan who lost his mother at birth. He is thrust into the cruel and unforgiving world. I was moved by the numerous hardships and challenges that he had to endure at such a tender age, including being shot at. He was moved away from the workhouse when he innocently asks for some more food, taken to as an apprentice undertaker and after some trouble runs away only to get into a group of thieves and robbers.

Dickens paints a grim, dark and horrifying picture of life of the poor in Victorian England. The author produced some memorable characters like Fagin the miser and the gang of thieves that included The Artful Dodger, Mr Bumble at the workhouse, Nancy the kind hearted whore with motherly instincts, Mr Grimwig who is always threatening to eat his head and those of others, Sikes the murderer and others.

Thankfully the book has a happy ending for Oliver. However, Nancy touched my heart and I felt that she should not have met such a grisly demise. Some unfortunate anti-Semitic references taint an otherwise exceptional novel.

This is excellent reading for those who like a well written story with exciting twists and turns.

I have read a number of Dickens books and can certainly call myself a big fan of his work. Considering the overwhelming popularity of «Oliver Twist,» it's a bit surprising that it took a graduate class to present the first opportunity for my getting to read it. While the book is good, it is not without its problems. I found the character of Oliver to be a little flat and a whole lot of unbelievable. Furthermore, Dickens played around with a lot of themes dealing with knots and mazes which was mildly tiresome.

And while I got a couple of big belly laughs out of Bumble's character, I was really peeved with Nancy's outcome. For those who have not read it, I am being cryptic for a reason.

All in all it is a clever little book, though it is clear it is one of his first. However, when you compare this one to the likes of «David Copperfield» and «Dombey and Son,» it leaves a bit to be desired.

For those who have never read Dickens and are afraid to pick up one of his many novels that are half a foot thick, start with «A Christmas Carol» or «Great

Expectations»….and then give «Twist» a whirl.

Oliver Twist was Dickens's first serious novel, after the comic Pickwick Papers. It is trash but his potential shows through.

The Penguin Classics version seen here gives us the book as it was originally serialized in magazines, and it is filthily anti-semitic, as is The Merchant Of Venice by Shakespeare and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, two other filthily anti-semitic British pieces of work. We have an established tradition here of Jew hatred in jolly old England.

The characters in Oliver Twist are caricatures given to us as pure good or pure evil. I don't know which are worse. Rose Maylie is so sickeningly sweet and good as to be worse than the bad uns. So is Oliver Twist for that matter. Reading about either of them is like eating french toast with gobs of maple syrup but leaving out the french toast. Just spoon that maple syrup into your mouth straight.

Beauty and goodness are equivalent to each other. Rose Maylie is so pretty, pretty as a picture, pretty as two pictures, and so is our pansy goody two shoes Oliver Twist. Perfection is too weak a word for them.

Meanwhile, the Jew is a despicably ugly character, both physically and morally. And when Oliver wakes up and looks out a window he spies the Jew, and he wakes up screaming The Jew! The Jew!

This edition of Dickens's viciously anti-semitic work identifies its primary villain as The Jew perhaps 300 times. It's The Jew this, The Jew that. If someone tried to get this garbage published today, the only publishing house that would take it would be from Aryan Nation.

The problem with completely slamming this trash is that even though the characters are one dimensional, either goody goody good or bad uns, and even though it is a sledgehammer of constant Jew hatred, you still have a fledgling Dickens, a neophyte Dickens, which is like having a rookie Reggie Jackson on your team. He is going to hit some homers and win some World Series games. He has awesome talent and it does show.

There is a confirmed tendency to hero-worship the famous. Dickens or Shakespeare could have written any old garbage, and often did, and still most people would praise it to the skies because they really aren't looking past the name.

Do you have the independence and the true taste to really tell the wheat from the chaff? Very few people do. And Reggie Jackson struck out an awful lot, and had a big mouth which his foot fit easily into, and was never accused of being a nice guy.

This early version of Oliver Twist reeks. Get the musical instead. Or look for a later version, one that doesn't scream about The Jew ten times a page.

The introduction tells us that Dickens had Jewish friends who told him that this book was anti-semitic, and Dickens answered basically «yes, but most Fagin type criminals ARE Jews». Even so, he deleted some of his references to The Jew and added a nice Jew as a minor character in one of his later books. Big deal. That doesn't balance Fagin. Oh, I've ripped out your liver? Here, have a twinkie.


As Angus Wilson says,

… the somber tone of Oliver Twist, coming after Pickwick Papers, was a surprise, though no disappointment, to contemporary readers… With Oliver Twist Dickens the master of grand social vision, and Dickens the journalist, come to the front of the stage, while Dickens the comedian of Pickwick Papers retires into comparative shadow.

It is as if Dickens were eager to demonstrate his own versatility and to avoid beign typecast as the author of a particular kind of fiction: in the context of the 1830s it is hard to think of a more abrupt change…

Dickens drew on various literary and dramatic models in his second novel. The Gothic novel may well have contributed 'a certain supernatural element implied in the diabolic character of Fagin, and in the mysterious absence of his footprints after he has peered in upon Oliver in his country retreat, and in the whole phantom character of Monks'. The eighteenth-century picaresque novel may have suggested 'the disputed – inheritance – cum – illegitimate – son plot' (cf. Tom Jones and Humphery Clinker). Popular melodrama of the kind that Dickens enjoyed in the London theaters made its contribution, notably to the stylized and implausible dialogue at certain points. Most obvious of all to Dickens' first readers would have been the influence of the so-called 'Newgate novel', which flourished in the 1830s; to this category belong such once-popular works as Bulwer-Lytton's Paul Clifford (1830) and Eugene Aram (1832), and Harrison Ainsworth's Rookwood (1834). Such novels glamorized the criminal classes (the heroes of the first and third are highwaymen). At the end of the decade Thackeray satirized this school of fiction in his Catherine (serialized in 1839–40), narrated by 'Ikey Solomon, junior' (Ikely Solomon had been the prototype for Fagin); and in Frazer's Magazine (August 1840), describing the crowd at a public execution, he contrasted the real-life Nancys with those depicted in Dickens:

I was curious to look at them, having, in late fashionable novels, read many accounts of such personages. Bah! what figments these novelist tell us! Boz, who knows life well, knows that his Miss Nancy is the most unreal fantastical personage possible;… He dare not tell the truth concerning such young ladies.

Most obviously, there is the satire on the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and its effects. Peter Fairclough notes that the opening chapters of the novel appeared when a campaign by The Times attacking the Act was at its height. As Fairclough says,

The chief object of the new Act was to stop the benevolent Allowance System–a development of the granting of wholesale outdoor relief by many humane J.P.'s, whereby labourers' wages were supplemented to subsistence level by contributions to the Poor Rate–by abolishing out-relief to the able-bodied [see Note, Poor Laws].

Oliver is born into the pre‑1834 system, and sent to one of the baby farms which were a feature of the early nineteenth-century provision for pauper orphans. But by the time he is nine years old (Ch. 2) the new Act is in effect and his fate is settled by one of the elected Boards of Guardians that had been newly established. Humphry House has commented that Bumble's still being beadle after the introduction of the new Act was perfectly possible: 'all the details did not change at a stroke, and the early reports of the Commissioners are full of complaints of unsuitable officers taken over from the old system.

Dickens was to continue his attack on the inhumanity of the workhouse system: almost thirty years later, in his last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend, it is still a target. But it is not the only topical aspect of this early novel; indeed, according to House, 'A novel could hardly have been more topical than Oliver Twist, ' Saffron Hill, where much of the action takes place, was notorious in the period as a haunt of thieves, prostitutes and fences, and in making it the base of Fagin's activities 'Dickens was… using a contemporary topical allusion with which a great number of his readers would have been quite familiar beforehand' (House). The brief reference to Oliver's narrow escape at being apprenticed to a chimney-sweep alludes to the plight of the climbing boys, another contemporary scandal.

Oliver is a sort of male Cinderella or princess disguised as a goose girl; and his innate gentility (manifested, for example, in his speech–a product of his birth rather than his environment) is flagrantly non-realistic. Similarly, there is a problem arising from the conflict between the impulse of Dickens's part to satirize with righteous indignation and the impulse to turn anything and everything to comedy. Bumble is not, a priori, a figure of fun but the corrupt representative of an evil system. In the novel, however, he is a comedian, and some of the scenes in which he appears (for example, his courtship of Mrs. Carney) have little or nothing to do with the attack on the poor law. This is an aspect of Dickens' art not confined to this novel (compare, for instance, the treatment of Mrs. Gump in Martin Chuzzlewit, where the exposure of her incompetence as a nurse is almost lost sight of in the rich eccentricities of her monologues)….

Evil is rendered with much more conviction than good. Beside Fagin, the benevolent Mr Brownlow is insubstantial; even Nancy, though her activities as prostitute are scarcely touched on (Dickens never uses the word in the novel) and her sexuality is played down, is a human(i) portrait in a way that the virtuous Rose Maylie is not. Between these groups, as Wilson says, move 'the passive figure of Oliver himself and the mechanical figure of his sinister half-brother Monks.


2.2.2 Stylistic Features used by Charles Dickens in «Hard Times»

Beginning in 1854 up through to his death in 1870, Charles Dickens abridged and adapted many of his more popular works and performed them as staged readings. This version, each page illustrated with lovely watercolor paintings, is a beautiful example of one of these adaptations.

Because it is quite seriously abridged, the story concentrates primarily on the extended family of Mr. Peggotty: his orphaned nephew, Ham; his adopted niece, Little Emily; and Mrs. Gummidge, self-described as «a lone lorn creetur and everythink went contrairy with her.» When Little Emily runs away with Copperfield's former schoolmate, leaving Mr. Peggotty completely brokenhearted, the whole family is thrown into turmoil. But Dickens weaves some comic relief throughout the story with the introduction of Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, and David's love for his pretty, silly «child-wife,» Dora. Dark nights, mysterious locations, and the final destructive storm provide classic Dickensian drama. Although this is notDavid Copperfieldin its entirety, it is a great introduction to the world and the language of Charles Dickens

Writing a review of Dickens is very daunting. What can you say that's new? The greatest minds and writers of each generation are compelled to offer their opinions of his writings. Well, I feel compelled as well, simply because his writing has moved me so much.

I have come to Dickens late in life, right on the cusp of 50 years of age. When younger, I feared him to be cloying and contrived and it never took more than a page or two to confirm these fears. Besides, for English speaking readers, «Charles Dickens» is such a household word, his works so well known, it's almost as if he comes pre-read.

In a happy circumstance, I recently picked up a copy of «Great Expectations» on a whim, which has been in my girlfriend's bookshelf forever (isn't a copy of some Dickens' novel always close at hand?). A raced through Great Expectations and moved quickly to this novel, David Copperfield.

I won't re-hash too much what millions have felt and said about Dickens, except to say that it was a real thrill to feel that rush of excitement again about a writer – that tremendous feeling that makes you want to tell everyone you know about your discovery. I can't ever remember feeling this much concern for a group of characters before in any novel. In David Copperfield, Dickens created a character driven page-turner of over 1000 pages.

No writer before or since has been able to create an emotional bond between book and reader the way Charles Dickens could. One of the great pleasures of the book is the depiction of Uriah Heep, a villain that ranks up there with the demons of Milton or the murdering kings of Shakespeare. His power of others is astonishing and very creepy. The book is full of great characters, though, and for me one of the most memorable was James Steerforth: one of life's charming, natural winners. Dickens insight into this character is phenomenal, subtle, and somehow haunting. Steerforth is one of those characters that will forever seem «modern» and knowable.

For pure descriptive writing, a reader could search the classics of literature forever and not find anything to best «the storm scene» near the end of the book. Nothing I could say will come close to the feeling of reading these particular pages. I don't know anyone that has read this book without commenting on its power.

There must be other readers out there like me, thinking Dickens one of those classic writers from another age; worth knowing about but not worth reading. For those readers considering David Copperfield, I envy you. You are about to make one of those exciting discoveries that make life worth living. – Mykal Banta

I am a big reader, but in general, I'm a big reader of short novels. I just don't handle the large ones too well, and that's why I've been slow to get to David Copperfield. I've read a lot of Dickens's other stuff, and I've loved it all. I count Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol and a couple of others among my favorites. I was never able to make myself read David Copperfield though.

Until the last several weeks. I decided that it would be good for me to get through the whole thing, and I must say that it was a rewarding experience.

I particularly enjoyed the comedy of the novel. It has some of Dickens's most humorous moments and characters. Mr. and Mrs. Micawber are the sort of characters you know even before reading the novel, and the novel really starts going once they appear. Mr. […] and David's aunt provide nice moments, too.

And, of course, there's that Dickensian melodrama that we all love. That's probably why this book has been so popular through the years. David is a likeable character (particularly when he grows up), and his life definitely has its traumas and its highs. David's appealing, and it's pretty easy to become emotionally attached to the fellow as he makes mistakes and experiences triumphs and dark times. That's one thing about a thousand page novel; you get a little of everything.

There's plenty of interesting social commentary, particularly on the role of women. Dickens's philosophy on love it pretty evident, too, in the later stages of the novel, and that's pretty interesting.

So, it's a good book for all those who like the big novel, and for all those who like Dickens, it's, of course, a cannot miss. It's long but worth it.

I have always liked Dickens – I used to say that A Tale of Two Cities was my favorite – but this work is truly extraordinary. Like all of Dickens' novels, this one contains an amazing number of complex and colorful characters. The novel is in the first person, with the voice looking back as an older man at the entirety of his life. What struck me most about the book was Dickens' ability to write in a way that simultaneously captured both the emotions of a child as the young Davy experienced these events and those of the man who was looking back on them. With magnificent characters, an interesting plot, and a clear theme, this is truly a masterpiece.


On the «Bleak House»

I was whilst engaged upon Bleak House that Dickens, for the first time in his career, complained of feeling overwrought. He began the writing of this book in November, 1851, just a year after the close of David Copperfield, and was busy at it until August 1853; the first of the usual twenty monthly parts appeared in March, 1852, with illustrations by Harlot K. Browne. Doubtless the story cost him a great deal of trouble, for he had set himself a task alien to his genius – that of constructing a neatly elaborate «plot,» a rounded mystery with manifold complications, to serve as the vehicle for his attack upon a monstrous abuse. His letters of the time show that he was not working with the old gusto; he felt his other literary tasks, going on concurrently, very burdensome, to say nothing of the strain imposed by amateur acting and ceaseless social engagements. Of course the method of monthly publication, with author but a little in advance of printer, was, notwithstanding Dickens's deliberate defense, as bad a one as novelist has ever contrived, and we, who owe to it so many of Dickens's blemishes, cannot condemn it too severely. Imagine him to have written how, when, and where he pleased, making his books short or long with regard only to their subject, and choosing his own time for putting forth the complete story, how different would be the possession bequeathed to us!

In the serial issue David Copperfield had not had a great sale; Bleak House began at once with a larger, and presently rose to a circulation of nearly twice that attained by the earlier and better book. The wise man does not try very hard to explain such statistics, but it seems intelligible that the opening chapters of Bleak House should have excited that sort of curiosity which in the public at large means interest; there is a lawsuit involving a great fortune, and there is a mystery affecting aristocratic lives. Herein lay novelty; for the two preceding books, Dumber and Copperfield, had opened with childhood, and followed a regular biographic tenor. Dickens's first idea with regard to their successor was to call it Tom-all-Alone's, and to make Jo the centre of interest; obviously a project of no great promise and soon abandoned. I have somewhere read a suggestion, that in the changed character of his later works, where «plot» takes the place of biographic narrative, we are to note the influence of Dickens's friend, Wilkie Collins; but in the year 1851 Wilkie Collins had published only his first, and uncharacteristic, work of fiction, Antonina, and it is more likely that, if influence there were of one novelist upon the other, Bleak House had its part in the shaping of Collins's successful work; Inspector Bucket, at all events, certainly gave a new type to the novelists of crime.

Dickens thought he was making an advance in art. He had been occasionally reproached for the old-fashioned, happy-go-lucky progress of his stories, and now set himself resolutely to amend the fault. The result was a fiction which his biographer considers very nearly perfect. «Look back from the last to the first page of the present novel, and not even in the highest examples of this kind of elaborate care will it be found that event leads more closely to event or that the separate incidents have been planned with a more studied consideration of the bearing they are severally to have on the general result. Nothing is introduced at random, everything tends to the catastrophe, the various lines of the plot converge and fit to its centre, and to this larger interest all the rest is irresistibly drawn» (Forster, Bk. VIII, Chap. I). Now, if we omit the objectionable word «plot,» this is a description of faultless art in the constructing of a story; it will apply, in its degree, to every fine drama, scenic or narrative. But in the case before us its application is imperfect, owing to Dickens's failure to distinguish between art and artifice. In the fable of Bleak House there is much ingenuity, but an almost total disregard of probability the fitting of incidents suggests a mechanical puzzle rather than the complications of human life; arbitrary coincidence takes the place of well-contrived motive, and at times the motive suggested is glaringly inadequate. Briefly, the plot is not a good plot; infinite labour was wasted in a mistaken direction and here, as in so many of Dickens's novels, we have to enjoy the book in spite of its framework.

To make matters worse, the scheme is not homogeneous; intermingled with this weft of elaborate pattern are patches of a totally different order of work, the chapters of autobiography supposed to be written by Esther Summerson. In Copperfield, the first-person narrative was a great success, for it was indeed Dickens himself who spoke throughout, with all his qualities of humour and observation, vigour and pathos, allowed free play; one understands that the memory of his delight in achieving that masterpiece tempted him to a repetition of the same method. The result was most unfortunate. Of Esther Summerson as a woman we are liable to form no conception whatever, and we utterly refuse to believe that any hand save one penned the chapters bearing her signature. An attempt is made to write «in character, '' but it is speedily abandoned, and I imagine it would be an easy thing, by the changing of a very few words on each page, to incorporate these Esther portions with the rest of the narrative. The object, presumably, of writing a book in this way is to obtain the effect of varied points of view regarding characters and events; but it is of necessity a mistake in art. With a skill much greater than that of Dickens, the device is employed in Daudet's «Le Nabab» where one still feels that the harmonious construction of the novel is unwarrantably disturbed.

So much for technicalities. To come to the root of the matter, Bleak House is a brilliant, admirable, and most righteous satire upon the monstrous iniquity of «old Father Antic the Law,» with incidental mockery of allied abuses which, now as then, hold too large a place in the life of the English people.

Needless nowadays to revive the controversies which the book excited; we know that the Court of Chancery disgraced a country pretending to civilization; we know that, not long after the publication of Bleak House, it submitted to certain reforms yet it is interesting to remember that legal luminaries scoffed at Dickens's indignation and declared his picture utterly unlike the truth. One of these critics (Lord Denman) published a long and severe arraignment of the author, disputing not only his facts, but his theories of human nature. This novel, asserted Lord Denman, contained all Dickens's old faults and a good many new ones. Especially bitter was his lordship on the subject of Mrs. Jellyby, whom he held to be a gross libel on the philanthropic cause of slave emancipation. Many readers, naturally, found subject of offence in Mr. Chadband. Indeed, Bleak House seems to have aroused emotions in England very much as Martin Chuzzlewit did in America, the important point being that in neither case did Dickens's satire ultimately injure him with his public; in the end, the laugh was on his side, and with a laugh he triumphed. Not a little remarkable, when one comes to think of it, this immunity of the great writer. Humour, and humour alone, could have ensured it to him. It is all very well to talk of right prevailing, of the popular instinct for justice, and so on; these phrases mean very little. Dickens held his own because he amused. The noblest orator ever born, raising his voice in divine wrath against Chancery and all its vileness would not have touched the «great heart of the People» as did these pages which make gloriously ridiculous the whole legal world from His Lordship in his High Court down to Mr. Guppy on his high stool.

The satire is of very wide application; it involves that whole system of pompous precedent which in Dickens's day was responsible for so much cruelty and hypocrisy, for such waste of life in filth and gloom and wretchedness. With the glaring injustice of the Law, rotting society down to such places as Tom-all-Alone's, is associated the subtler evils of an aristocracy sunk to harmful impotence. With absurd precedent goes foolish pride, and self-righteousness, and every form of idle egoism; hence we have a group of admirable studies in selfish conceit – Harold Skimpole, Mr. Turveydrop, Mr. Chadband, Mrs. Jellyby. Impossible to vary the central theme more adroitly, more brilliantly. In Bleak House London is seen as a mere dependance of the Court of Chancery, a great gloomy city, webbed and meshed, as it were, by the spinnings of a huge poisonous spider sitting in the region of Chancery Lane; its inhabitants are the blighted, stunted and prematurely old offspring of a town which knows not fresh air. Perfect, all this, for the purpose of the satirist. In this sense, at all events, Bleak House is an excellently constructed book.

There is no leading character. In Richard Carstone, about whom the story may be said to circle, Dickens tried to carry out a purpose he had once entertained with regard to Walter Gay in Dombey and Son. That of showing a good lad at the mercy of temptations and circumstances which little by little wreck his life; but Richard has very little life to lose, and we form only a shadowy conception of his amiably futile personality. Still less convincing is his betrothed, Ada, whose very name one finds it difficult to remember. Nothing harder, to be sure, than to make a living picture of one whose part in the story is passive, and in Bleak House passivity is the characteristic of all the foremost figures; their business is to submit to the irresistible. Yet two of these personages seem to me successful studies of a kind in which Dickens was not often successful; I cannot but think that both Sir Leicester Dedlock and John Jarndyce is, each in his way, an excellent piece of work, making exactly the impression at which the author aimed. Compare Jarndyce with Mr. Pickwick and with the brothers Cheeryble. It is to their world that he belongs, the world of eccentric benevolence; he is the kind of man Dickens delighted to portray; but Mr. Jarndyce is far more recognizably a fellow-mortal than his gay predecessors; in truth, he may claim the style of gentleman, and perhaps may stand for the most soberly agreeable portrait of a gentleman to be found in all Dickens's novels. Sir Leicester, though he shows in the full light of satiric intention, being a figurehead on the crazy old ship of aristocratic privilege, is a human being akin to John Jarndyce; he speaks with undue solemnity, but behaves at all times as noblesse oblige, and, when sinking beneath his unmerited calamities, makes no little claim upon our sympathetic admiration. We have travelled far since the days of Sir Mulberry Hawk; the artist, meanwhile, had made friends in the privileged class of his countrymen, and had learnt what the circumstances of his early life did not allow him to perceive, that virtue and good manners are not confined to the middle and lower orders. He would not go so far as to make Sir Leicester intelligent; in spite of personal experience, Dickens never reconciled himself to the thought of «birth» in association with brains. His instinctive feeling comes out very strongly in that conversation between the Baronet and the Ironmaster which points to Dickens's remedy – the Radical remedy – for all the evils he is depicting.

That the Dedlock tragedy is the least impressive portion of the book results partly from Dickens's inability to represent any kind of woman save the eccentric, the imbecile, and the shrew (there are at most one or two small exceptions), and partly from the melodramatic strain in him, which so often misled his genius. Educated readers of to-day see little difference between these chapters of Bleak House and the treatment of any like «mystery» in a penny novelette. There is no need to insist on these weaknesses of the master; we admit them as a matter of critical duty, and at the same time point out the characteristics, moral and intellectual, of Victorian England, which account for so many of Dickens's limitations. Had he not been restrained by an insensate prudishness from dealing honestly with Lady Dedlock's story, Lady Dedlock herself might have been far more human. Where the national conscience refuses to recognize certain phases of life, it is not wonderful that national authors should exhibit timidity and ineptitude whenever they glance in the forbidden direction. Instead of a picture, we get a cloudy veil suggestive of nameless horrors; it is the sort of exaggeration which necessarily results in feebleness.

Dickens was very fond of the effect produced by bringing into close contact representatives of social extremes; the typical instance is Lady Dedlock's relations with crossing-sweeper Jo. Contemporary readers saw in Jo a figure of supreme pathos; they wept over his death-bed, as by those of Paul Dombey and of Little Nell. An ecclesiastical dignitary could not find words of solemn praise adequate to his emotions at the end of Chapter XLVII. «Uncultured nature is there indeed; the intimations of true heart feeling, the glimmerings of higher feeling, all are there; but everything still consistent and in harmony. To my mind nothing in the field of fiction is to be found in English literature surpassing the death of Jo!» That expressed the common judgment; but there were dissentients, especially Lord Denman, who after deploring the introduction of so much squalor – «the author's love of low life appears to grow on him» – went on to protest against Dickens's habit of discovering «delicacy of virtuous sentiment in the lowest depths of human degradation.» We know that Lord Denman was here quite right; for, though virtue may exist in the ignorant and the poor and the debased, most assuredly the delicacies of virtue will not be found in them, and it is these delicacies on which Dickens so commonly insists. If one fact can be asserted of the lowest English it is that, supposing them to say or do a good thing, they will say or do it in the worst possible way. Does there, I wonder, exist in all literature, a scene less correspondent with any possibility of life than that description of Jo's last moments? Dickens believed in it – there is the odd thing. Not a line, not a word, is insincere. He had a twofold mission in life, and, from our standpoint, in an age which has outgrown so many conditions of fifty years ago, we can only mark with regret how the philanthropist in him so often overcame the artist.

His true pathos comes when he does not particularly try for it and is invariably an aspect of his humor. The two chief instances in this book are the picture of Coavinses' children after their father's death, and the figure of Guster, Mrs. Saxby’s slave-of-all-work. Nothing more touching, more natural, more simple, than that scene in Chapter XV where Esther and her companions find the little Convinces locked up for safety in their cold garret, whilst the elder child, Charley, is away at washing to earn food for them all.

«'God help you, Charley!' said my Guardian. 'You're not tall enough to reach the tub!'»

«'In patens I am, Sir, ' she answered quickly. 'I've got a high pair as belonged to mother.'»

That is worth many death-beds of ideal crossing-sweepers. We see it is a possible and intelligible thing that Charley should be a good girl, and her goodness takes precisely the right form. She is healthy in mind and body; her little figure makes one of the points of contrast (others are Mr. Boythorn, and Caddy Jellyby, and Trooper George, and the Bagnet household) which emphasize the sordid evil all about her. Anything but healthy, on the other hand, is Mrs. Snagsby's Guster, the poor slavey whose fits and starved stupidities supply us with such strange matter for mirth. She belongs to the Marchioness group of characters, wherein Dickens's hand has a peculiar skill. «Guster, really aged three or four and twenty, but looking a round ten years older, goes cheap with this unaccountable drawback of fits, and is so apprehensive of being returned on the hands of her patron saint» – the parish – «that except when she is found with her head in the pail, or the sink, or the copper, or the dinner, she is always at work. The law-stationer's establishment is, in Guster's eyes, a temple of plenty and splendour. She believes the little drawing-room upstairs, always kept, as one may say, with its hair in papers and its pinafore on, to be the most elegant apartment in Christendom…. Guster has some recompense for her many privations.» The wonderful thing about such work as this is Dickens's subdual of his indignation to the humorous note. It is when indignation gets the upper hand, and humour is lost sight of, that he falls into peril of unconsciously false sentiment.

Among the characters of this book there is not one belonging to the foremost groups of Dickens's creations, no one standing together with Mr. Micawber and Mr. Pecksniff; yet what novel by any other writer presents such a multitude of strongly-featured individuals, their names and their persons familiar to everyone who has but once read Bleak House? As I have already remarked, most of them illustrate the main theme of the story, exhibiting in various forms the vice of a fixed idea which sacrifices everything and everybody to its own selfish demands. The shrewdly ingenious Skimpole (I do not stop to comment on the old story of his outward resemblance to Leigh Hunt), the lordly Turveydrop, the devoted Mrs. Jellyby, the unctuously eloquent Mr. Chadband, all are following in their own little way the example of the High Court of Chancery – victimizing all about them on pretence of the most disinterested motives. The legal figures – always so admirable in Dickens – of course strike this key-note with peculiar emphasis; we are in no doubt as to the impulses ruling Mr. Kenge or Mr. Vholes, and their spirit is potent for evil down to the very dregs of society, in Grandfather Smallweed and in Mr. Krook. The victims themselves are a ragged regiment after Dickens's own heart; crazy Chancery suitors, Mr. Jellyby and his hapless offspring, fever-stricken dwellers in Chancery's slums, all shown with infinite picturesqueness – which indeed is the prime artistic quality of the book. For mirth extracted from sordid material no example can surpass Mr. Guppy, who is chicane incarnate; his withdrawal from the tender suit to Miss Summerson, excellent farce, makes as good comment as ever was written upon the law-office frame of mind. That we have little if any frank gaiety is but natural and right; it would be out of keeping with the tone of a world overshadowed by the Law. To regret that Skimpole is not so engaging as Micawber, with other like contrasts, is merely to find fault with the aim which the novelist sets before him. Yet it is probable enough that the rather long-drawn dreariness of some parts of the book may be attributed to the overstrain from which at this time Dickens was avowedly suffering.

In his Preface he tells us that he had «purposely dwelt on the romantic side of familiar things.» But the word romantic does not seem to be very accurately applied. In using it, Dickens no doubt was thinking of the Dedlock mystery, the involvement of a crossing-sweeper in aristocratic tragedies, and so on; all which would be better called melodrama than romance. What he did achieve was to make the common and the unclean most forcibly picturesque. From the fog at the opening of the story to Lady Dedlock's miserable death at the end, we are held by a powerful picture of murky, swarming, rotting London, a marvelous rendering of the impression received by any imaginative person who in low spirits has had occasion to wander about London's streets. Nowhere is Dickens stronger in lurid effects; for a fine horror he never went beyond Chapter XXXII – where it would, of course, be wide of the mark to begin discussing the possibility of spontaneous combustion. Masterly descriptions abound; the Court in Chapter I, the regions of the Law during vacation in Chapter XIX, Mr. Vholes's office in Chapter XXXIX, are among the best. The inquest at the Sol's Arms shows all Dickens's peculiar power of giving typical value to the commonplace; scene and actors are unforgettable; the gruesome, the vile, and the ludicrous combine in unique effects, in the richest suggestiveness. And for the impressive in another kind – still shadowed by the evil genius of the book, but escaped from the city's stifling atmosphere – what could be better than Chapter LVII, Esther's posting through the night with Inspector Bucket. This is very vigorous narrative. We, of course, forget that an amiable young lady is supposed to be penning it, and are reminded of those chapters of earlier books where Dickens revels in the joy of the road.

As a reminder that even in Bleak House the master did not altogether lose his wonted cheeriness by humble firesides, one may recall the Bagnet household, dwelling at a happy distance from Chancery Lane. Compare the dinner presided over by the Old Girl beside her shining hearth with that partaken of by Mr. Guppy, Mr. Jobling and Mr. Smallweed at their familiar chop-house. Each is perfect in its kind, and each a whole world in little.




Repetition is a language of an emotionally rich excited speech that is why its use and function in the repetition speech of the hero and in the author’s speech it substantially differ from each other. Thus, appearing in the direct speech of hero, repetition witnesses about excited and agitated state of the spacer for example: Behold Mr. and Mrs. Baffin beaming!

As a rule in such cases we have thrice repetitions of words which differ with significant emotional substantiality even out of repetition. Repetition, thus plays double role it emphasized certain part of the speaker and at the same time serves the author as a means of presenting the speaker’s state at moment of speaking.

The greatness of the E. realists lies not only in their satirical portrayal of the bourgeoisie and in the ruling classes but also in their profound humanism which is reveal in their sympathy for the laboring people. These writers create positive characters who are quite alien to the vices of the rich and who are chiefly common people. The best works of the realist writes, the world of greed and cruelty is contrasted to a world where all the unwritten laws of humanism rule in defiance of all the sorrows and inflections that befall the heroes.

The critical realists of the 19th century didn’t and due to their world outlook couldn’t find a way to eradicate social evils. They strive for no more than improving it by means of reforms which brings them to a futile attempt of trying to reconcile the antagonistic class forces the bourgeoisie and proletariat. The E. working class, however created a lit of its own which can be in full justice, called the character lit, for it developed among the participants of the chartist movement before and after the revolutionary events of 1848. The chartist writers introduced a new theme into E. lit.-the struggle of the proletariat for its rights. The 2nd half of the 19th century in E. produced a number of outstanding poets such as Alfred Pennyson (1809–1892), Charles Algernon Swinburne (1837–1909) and other.

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