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Charles Dickens and Great Expectations


Charles Dickens and Great Expectations Beginnings Charles John Huffam Dickens Born on February 7, 1812 Second child to John and Elizabeth Dickens Father was a clerk ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Charles Dickens and Great Expectations

Charles Dickens and Great Expectations
  • Charles John Huffam Dickens
  • Born on February 7, 1812
  • Second child to John and Elizabeth Dickens
  • Father was a clerk for a Naval Pay Officer
  • Lower middle class which consisted of shabby
    genteel who had slipped down from higher classes
    and artisans and working classmen who had
    improved themselves (Charles)
  • They Jealously cherished its pretensions of
    being a cut above the proletariat, whom it
    thought to be dirty, immoral, drunken, profane,
    comical, and potentially murderous (Cruikshank
    12). Also believed itself to be more moral than
    the corrupt and sensual aristocracy (Cruikshank

Moving Around
  • The Dickens family moved often because of their
    fathers job and loose spending habits.
  • Charles remembered his fondest years of childhood
    as the five years spent in Chatham where the
    family moved when Charles was 5.
  • He first saw the mansion Gads Hill Place there
    and watched the prison ships called Hulks.
  • There he was allowed to attend school and learned
    to read and write
  • In 1822 they moved back to Camdon, North London

Early Work for Chuck
  • Father was imprisoned for debt early in Charles
    life (around the age of 12). Went to Marshalsea
    Prison. Had to pay to be there but could earn no
    money to get out of debt.
  • Family lived with father in Prison so Charles is
    on his own
  • Charles is sent to work to support his family
  • Jealous of his sister who was studying at the
    Royal Academy of Music

Marshalsea Debters Prison
Poor Charles
  • Charles was left alone to support himself
  • Charles then went to work for a relative of his
    mothers pasting labels on the bottles of shoe
    polish at Warrens Blackening factory 12 hours a
    day, six days a week
  • Eventually, due to an inheritance, the familys
    debt was paid and they were allowed to leave
    prison (In prison 6-12 months

Warrens Shoe Blacking Company
  • Dickens had always dreamed of living the life of
    an upper class gentleman, but had no money to
    achieve that dream.
  • Other boys working there made fun of him by
    calling him the young gentleman.
  • He said, No words can express the agony of my
    soul as I sunk into this companionship.

The Bitterness Begins
  • Charles re-enrolls in school again against his
    mothers will. Attended Wellington House Academy
    with cruel headmaster who beat kids.
  • She did not want to lose the income Charles was
    bringing in.
  • Never forgot the bitterness and sense of betrayal
  • I never afterwards forgot, I never shall
    forget, I never can forget that my mother was
    warm for my being sent back to Warrens

  • Dickens education was mostly informal
  • Taught to read by his mother at early age
  • By age of ten he had read novels like Robinson
    Crusoe, Tom Jones, and Don Quixote
  • At age 18 he buys a reading ticket to the library
    at the British Museum and also taught himself

  • Worked various jobs after the Blackening factory
  • Spent two years as a law clerk
  • After learning shorthand he spent 4 years as a
    legal reporter, then as shorthand reporter in
    Parliament (his dissatisfaction with government
    comes from this time)
  • 1834 joins staff of the Morning Chronicle as a
    news reporter covering political news. Newspaper
    was known for its crusade to improve the ills of
    society. He developed a burning sense of the
    hurt and injustice suffered by ordinary people
    (Seward 461).
  • He also begins at this time to write for
  • This point in his life marked by fierce
    determination to succeed

  • Charles falls in love older Maria Beadnell,
    daughter of a rich banker
  • Goes well until she returns from Finishing school
    in Paris and loses interest in him.
  • His friend John Forester later related that he
    was surprised at how hard Dickens took the break
    up but recognized that it was fueled by a deep
    sense of social inferiority

More Love
  • Meets Catherine Hogarth, Daughter of the Morning
    Chronicle Editor.
  • Married in 1836
  • Odd relationship though, lacked the luster of his
    previous relationship
  • Often broke dates and would reprimand Catherine
    if she protested

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Bad Charles
  • Charles constantly found himself infatuated with
    other women
  • Mary, younger sister to Catherine, lived with
    them until she suddenly died at age 17
  • Charles was crushed which only infuriated his
    already jealous wife

His Writing
  • Sold his first short pieces and sketches in
    London at the Morning Chronicle and other papers
  • Started writing under the pen name of Boz
  • He published a collection of these short stories
    in a book called Sketches by Boz which received
    much critical praise and sparked Dickens career

The Novels Keep On Coming
  • He earned some early recognition with these but
    gained more fame from his serialized novels the
    first of which, the comedic Pickwick Papers was a
  • Pickwick Papers sold over 40,000 copies for each
    serial addition.
  • Oliver Twist was started after Pickwick and
    Nicholas Nickleby and A Christmas Carol soon
  • Started weekly periodicals called Household Words
    and then All the Year Round. They dea

Christmas Time With Uncle Charles
  • Dickens then wrote 5 consecutive Christmas
    stories of which the most famous is A Christmas

Bad Times at Ridgemont High
  • Dickens older sister dies in 1848
  • Wife has a nervous breakdown in 1850 after the
    birth of their daughter Dora Annie
  • 1851 Dora dies as well as Dickens Father
  • Through this time, Dickens writes David

Lawrence Kappel
  • For the first time, (Dickens) conceived a hero
    who could survive in the midst of problem-filled
    world of experience by using his artistic
    imagination, like Dickens himself. This
    autobiographical novel was a celebration of the
    artists ability to cope with the world right in
    the center of it, as opposed to just surviving
    the world by retreating to some safe place at the
    edge of it

Poor, Poor Charles
  • The bad times kept on coming with the scandal of
    yet another young woman and Dickens still dealing
    with the breakdown and subsequent divorce of
  • Novels like Bleak House, Hard Times, and Little
    Dorrit were his darkest and bleakest yet

Great Expectations
  • Dickens hit gold with his next novel Great
  • Received mixed reviews from the critics but the
    public loved it
  • Some called it his greatest work yet

The Last One
  • Dickens writes his last full novel Our Mutual
    Friend which returned to his darker side dealing
    with the further deepening corruption in society
  • Dickens toured heavily doing reading and signings
    until his health declined
  • Started The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1869 but
    died in 1870 of an apparent brain hemorrhage
  • He is buried in the poets Corner of Westminster

The Victorian Novel
  • British novels published between 1840 and 1880
    often are grouped together under the title
    "Victorian," as if some essential identity
    derived from having been published during the
    long reign of the person George Eliot called "our
    little humbug of a queen."
  • 19th-century writers were engaged in redefining
    fundamental ideas of identity and social order
    and in giving positive value and currency to
    terms like "self" and "society," which, even as
    late as the mid
  • .19th century

Setting of Great Expectations
  • Turn of the 18th century London had 1 million
  • By 1881, there was a 450 increase. Populations
    was now four and a half million because of
    Industrial Revolution.
  • More slums, orphans, increased poverty, child
  • Pip lived in Kent
  • Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837

Social Reform
  • Dickens treats a variety of social issues in
    Great Expectationsprejudice, materialism, social
    status, and classin a sensible manner."
  •  Some have criticized Dickens's works for
    emphasizing grave social injustices but not
    offering any solutions. But such criticism misses
    Dickens's point believing history has proved
    economic systems to be incapable of relieving
    poverty, Dickens stresses the importance of
    individual responsibility and compassion for the
    plight of the poor and disfranchised."

More Reform
  • Around 1800 social reformers began calling for
    changes in child labor laws because of long hours
    and unsafe conditions. Child labor caused
    illiteracy, further impoverishment of poor
    families, and a multitude of diseased and
    crippled children (Child Labor)
  • Factory Act1819 forbade children from working
    at night and limited work day to 12 hours. No
    policing so did no good.
  • .

Child Labor
  • 1847 The Ten Hours Act reduced hours for all
    workers to ten hours, six days a week.
  • Factory Act of 1833 forbade children under age of
    nine from working in factories and limited hours
    of children up to age eighteen. Paid inspectors

Educational Reform
  • Early 1800s there was no state-funded schooling
  • Lower-middle class children either went without
    schooling or went to Dame or evening schools
    which were inadequate.
  • When lower-middle class children could attend a
    school, they where often cruel where headmaster
    believed that beating children is a way to knock
    sense into them. Children were afraid to take
    risks in learning.
  • 1870 Education Act required neighborhood
    districts to use taxes for schools
  • 1880 another act made education compulsory for
    children 5-10 years of age.

Debtors Laws
  • 1800 laws allowed government officials to lock
    those in debt in prisons
  • The imprisonment of Dickens father in Marshalsea
    Prison in 1824 compelled Dickens to show the
    world that not all debtors were low-down
  • 1834 the New Poor Law allowed for those in debt
    to go into a workhouse where they could work for
    their keep.
  • Poor conditions of prison, where inmates were
    thrown together leading to fights or put into
    solitary confinement leading to antisocial
  • Ugly cyclepoor had no money, introduced to crime
    just to eat, thrown in prison at early age,
    earmarked as criminal, in and out of prison with
    no rehabilitating or helping the individual change

Overall Themes
  • Pips realization that wealth and class are less
    important than affection, loyalty, and inner
  • affection, loyalty, and conscience are more
    important than social advancement, wealth, and
  • social class becomes a superficial standard of
    value that Pip must learn to look beyond in
    finding a better way to live his life.