Describe Charles Dickens's early life. How did his experiences as a child impact him later on as an author?

Expert Answers
linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You can find a biography of Dickens here at eNotes. I've pasted the link below. An interesting detail about his life says a lot about the themes he explored in his books:

At the age of ten, Dickens was forced to work at a factory to pay off his father’s debts. Although Dickens himself spoke of this traumatizing experience only twice in his life, critics and readers agree that the two years he spent there forged much of the material for his later novels.

His parents fell on hard times and had a lot of debt. In those days, whole families were put in "debtors' prisons" to repay debt. His parents and three children were imprisoned, and Charles had to go to work in a factory that made shoe polish. His father received an inheritance, and the family was reunited, but this time left its mark on Charles. His novels often include children who have to grow up too fast or who suffer neglect in some way. Think of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Pip, Tiny Tim--all had some kind of obstacle to overcome, just as Dickens overcame his own obstacles.

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question