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Charles Dickens and Samuel Clemens

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Charles Dickens and Samuel Clemens

(1812-1870) (1835-1910)

Charles Dickens and Samuel Clemens lived in different parts of the world, England and America. Charles Dickens was twenty-three years old when Samuel Clemens was born. Charles Dickens was a boy who loved learning, while Samuel Clemens could hardly wait for school to end. Despite the fact that both authors reference Christianity and its customs, historians believe that Charles Dickens was a Christian whereas Samuel Clemens was not.

The similarities between Charles Dickens and Samuel Clemens are numerous. Both authors are world famous legends who wrote many novels, created many characters, had an autobiographical character, and based characters on people in their lives. Samuel Clemens used the pen name Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, for a brief time, used the pen name Boz. Both authors worked as journalists and wrote until the day they died. Their life experiences were reflected in their writings and the period in which they wrote was merely an account of what was really happening in history.

England in the early years of the seventeenth century enjoyed the regency of the Prince of Wales, went to war with the United States and watched Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. During this time, one of the world's greatest morally and socially responsible novelists, Charles Dickens was born in Portsea, England in 1812. Charles was the second child and the oldest son of John and Elizabeth Dickens. Charles' early years were happy especially during the ages of 5-9. He loved school, was imaginative and had a hunger for reading. Charles Dickens: A Literary Life page 47 describes the collection of books in the attic that Charles would read as if it were a matter of life or death. Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, Arabian Nights and The Tales of the Genii, was reading material not suitable for a child, yet all of these stories influenced the novels Dickens would eventually write. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. Charles had a carefree life. He and his friends wore white beaver hats and called themselves Giles' Cats. His parents had many parties and invited many friends, but the problem was that they spent more money than they had. By the time Charles was ten his family had lived in six different houses and each one was poorer and poorer than the one before. There were eight children and the family fell deeper and deeper into debt.

It was a time in England when schools were not funded by the state, so eventually Charles was unable to attend school anymore because his family couldn't afford it. Frequently, Charles was sent to the pawnshop to sell some books to pay for food. After his twelfth birthday Dickens began working at Warren's Blacking Factory. Then, his dad was arrested for debt and sent to prison and the young Dickens, suffering humiliation, went to the streets.

These unpleasant years in Dickens's life left wounds that would resurface in characters about orphans and others less fortunate. Then Charles' mother died, his dad finally got out of prison, and Charles was sent back to school until he was fifteen. He learned how to write shorthand and very soon got a job as a court reporter. Later he became a journalist and worked as a reporter for the True Sun and the Mirror of Parliament. During this time he met Maria Beadnell. For four years Dickens would write her poems and letters, but her parents didn't like Dickens. When Maria's parents found out about Charles' past, Maria was sent to Paris to finish her education. Charles Dickens was heartbroken. Dickens began taking long walks down streets observing people. He watched the people he passed-the rich " swells" in their jackets and beaver hats, refined ladies who rode in carriages, shop girls and rowdy drunks, pickpockets and fishmongers, and ragged children who slept in doorways (Diane Stanley & Peter Vennema 14). He would write about these people and use them in stories that he would create. One day he dropped one of his stories into a letterbox of the Monthly Magazine. When the issue came out, the story was there. He had named this story A Dinner at Poplar Walk. He began writing more stories and would drop them into the same box. He went under the pen name of Boz, which was an old family baby name. His stories became so popular that someone even published a book called Sketches by Boz. Dickens had made enough money to marry so he chose a lady named Catherine Hogarth.

One day an artist named Robert Seymour came to Dickens and asked him if he could write some paragraphs about the pictures he had drawn. That gave Dickens the idea of writing one of his own books and Seymour could illustrate them. And so The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (or, more commonly, The Pickwick Papers) began. The Pickwick Papers were famous and people began selling Pickwick hats, Pickwick canes, coats, cigars, and joke books. Charles Dickens had become world famous at the age of twenty-five.

Dickens began writing Oliver Twist. He focused mainly upon the poor places where children would have to work until night doing dangerous tasks. It was a powerful novel that focused on Poor Law. Dickens began writing about this for the rest of his life, describing this pitiless world in rich detail (Diane Stanley & Peter Vennema 17). Other novels Charles Dickens wrote that showed Victorian history and dealt with social issues were Barnaby Rudge (Gordon riots), A Tale of Two Cities ( French Revolution), Hard Times (industrial problems of capital versus labor inspired by a weavers' strike), Little Dorrit (social system is compared to a prison) Great Expectations (ideals of society are examined), and Our Mutual Friends (deals with many social issues). Some of Dickens' other novels were Nicholas Nickleby, American Notes, A Christmas Carol, Martin Chuzzlewit, Domby and Son, and Bleak House.

Charles Dickens' autobiographical character was David Copperfield in David Copperfield. Other characters were based on real people in his life. Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop was based on Charles Dickens' sister in law, Mary Hogarth who died suddenly at the age of seven-teen. In David Copperfield Mr. And Mrs. Micawber were modeled after Charles Dickens' parents. Pip in Great Expectations represented Dickens' son who was growing up into a snob. Ebinezer Scrouge, Tiny Tim, Uriah Heep, Mrs. Gamp, Sam Weller and Mr. Pecksniffare are a few of Dickens' most famous characters.

It was 1835 and Halley's Comet had passed earth. Another phenomenon, Samuel L. Clemens, was born in Florida, Missouri, in



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