Who was Charles Dickens?

Image Credit: Flickr User graham19492000, via CC

This is a true and inspiring story about a boy named Charles who was born in England about 200 years ago. He was born on February 7, 1812 to very poor parents. But do you know whom this boy grew up to become? He became a world famous English writer Charles Dickens.

Now England was very different in those times. There were hardly any schools for children, especially if you were poor. There were no television or other means of entertainment. So poor children mostly went to work and not to school.

Charles had always wanted to go to school. He was extremely fond of reading books. He dreamt of writing a book some day. He attended home school run by local ladies at every chance he got.

But little Charles had a hard life. His parents had to take care of their eight children with hardly any money. Charles wanted to study and briefly did go to school, but when he was just 9 years of age in 1821, his parents were thrown in prison for not paying their debts. He had to leave everything and work in a factory making ‘blacking’ that was used to clean fireplaces. From morning till evening, Charles put labels on the pots of blacking. His companions in the dirty factory were rats and rowdy co workers. It was only on Sundays that he got to meet his parents. Charles was very sad and lonely.

After his parents were released from prison, and things improved Charles went to school again. Finally, he could see his dream coming true. He learnt everything he could and grabbed every opportunity he got. At mere 14 years of age, he joined a job as a clerk at a lawyers office. Oh! how he hated the lawyers! But while he was there, he read many law books and gained immense knowledge on the subject. Later through his writings, Charles often displayed his knowledge of law and contempt for lawyers.

Charles started to write more. Something that he always wanted to do. He wrote stories about characters that often resembled people he had interacted with in real life. The situations in his novels were often drawn from his own life. He also wrote about people he met and about his travels. Finally, success came to him with the publishing of his first novel – The Pickwick Papers – a funny novel about a traveling society in which four members travel about England and make reports on.

Then came another success with Oliver Twist – story about adventures of an orphan boy who is forced to work among thieves until redeemed by a gentleman who has taken an interest in him.

Charles slowly became world famous celebrity Charles Dickens with many more celebrated novels – The Great expectations, A Christmas carol, A tale of two cities, David Copperfield and many more.

Charles Dickens died on June 9, 1870 of heart attack. At the time, he was working on his novel Edwin Drood, which stays his last piece of unfinished work. He was laid to rest in the Poet’s corner of Westminster Abbey.

Children in today’s world are treated very special and Charles Dickens novels greatly helped people in realizing that. Reading about the plight of children in those times people have changed for the better.


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