Charles Dickens

Why does Charles Dickens always have an orphan in his novels?


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2010-03-08 22:59:56
2010-03-08 22:59:56

Firstly, because in Dickens day orphans were far more common than they are now.

Infant Mortality Rate was high, and many women died in childbirth. This meant that many of Dickens's readers could sympathise with Dickens' orphans, and understand and empathise with them. For instance, in Great Expectations, Pip, the main character is an orphan. Dickens originally released this novel in chapters, and the fact that the boy had no parents would have hooked the morbid Victorians.

Also, Dickens loved to address political and social issues in his work. Talking about the conditions of the orphans and poor, like in Oliver Twist, was Dickens 'subtle' way of drawing people's attention to the appalling conditions. He talked about these things in the hope that someone would pick up on the allusions and do something.

And of course, in the case of people like Little Nell (The Old Curiosity Shop) it just makes the story that much more heart warming.

Charles Dickens was taken out of school to work in a factory when young. Many of the children with whom he worked were probably orphans and he had a loving mother and a father (who ended up in debtors' prison) and a great sensitivity to the plight of the others he may have known.

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