Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Nell Trent, called Little Nell, a sweet, delicate child, brave and wise beyond her years. An orphan, she lives with her aged grandfather, the keeper of the Old Curiosity Shop, who has developed a passion for gambling because of his desire to provide for Little Nell’s future. After the old man, heavily in debt, loses the last of his property, he and his granddaughter are turned into the streets. She and the half-crazed old man take to the roads and encounter many adventures during their wanderings. At every opportunity, her grandfather continues to gamble away whatever funds he may have. They suffer many privations before they fall in with a kindly schoolmaster, Mr. Marton, who accompanies them to the village where he has been appointed teacher and clerk. There, Little Nell and her grandfather settle down to a quiet life, but their happiness is brief. Hardship and exposure have undermined Little Nell’s delicate constitution. She fades away slowly and uncomplainingly, worn out by her difficult life, and dies soon afterward.
Little Nell’s grandfather
Little Nell’s grandfather, the proprietor of the Old Curiosity Shop, the only means he has of providing for himself and his orphan granddaughter. Troubled because he has no other way to provide for her future, he resorts to gambling in an effort to make his fortune. Losing steadily, he develops a passion for the excitement of gambling. In the end, unable...
(The entire section is 1953 words.)
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