Combination of the strictest realism with a fairytale unrealism. General atmosphere is the secret of Dickens' work. Discuss.no

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a level of redemption combined with the strictest of realism in Dickens' work.  I think I have a slight problem with the "fairy tale unrealism" because it negates the level of profound suffering within his work.  If we remove, "A Christmas Carol" from the equation and examine the theme of suffering in Dickens' work, we begin to see that there is little in way of fairy tale unrealism present.  Pip in Great Expectations realizes the complexity involved with wealth and social betterment to a degree that moves it beyond "fairy tale."  The powerfully compelling notion of self sacrifice which is present in "A Tale of Two Cities" is far from unrealism and falsehood.  At the same time, the condemnation of social conformity and traditionalized notions of education in "Hard Times" create an ending that is far from "neat" and "tidy," as would be in a fairy tale.  I think it's important to determine that redemption is different from "fairly tale ending."  The former can embrace complexity and nuance, while the latter is reductive.  Of the many things that can be said about Dickens' work, this term could not be applicable.