Charles Dickens Achievements

Discuss the achievements of Charles Dickens. Please answer in detail.

 

 

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Charles Dickens achieved literary success after a difficult childhood during which he was forced to work in a blacking warehouse at age 12 when his father was sent to debtor's prison. Like David Copperfield, the protagonist of one of his most famous novels, he was sent to live with a distant relative when his father was imprisoned. 

His novels capture the lives of the poor in England and expose the conditions in which they lived, and he believed in the power of literature to expose social wrongs and to bring about social reform. His American Notes for General Circulation, an account of his travels in the United States, was an attack on slavery, which he saw as connected to the treatment of the poor in England.

In addition, he captured the feelings of childhood in a way that was novel at the time. His protagonists, such as David Copperfield and Pip in Great Expectations, suffer at the hands of cruel adults and display the real emotions of childhood at the time. Many of Dickens's works are cherished classics, including A Tale of Two Cities (which takes place during the French Revolution) and his Christmas stories such as A Christmas Carol. Dickens was an extremely prolific writer, penning 15 novels and many short stories that are known for their humor, social realism, and readability. He was also a philanthropist and social reformer who set up a home for "fallen" women that focused on providing them with skills rather than punishing them. His works continue to be read and have never ceased being in print. 

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the great achievements of Charles Dickens is that he effected social reform.  With his exposure novels, such as Oliver Twist, Dickens attacked the working of the poor law of his Victorian Age.  Bleak House is another novel of social realism, replete with social analysis and protest.  And, with the use of pathos and melodrama Dickens, nevertheless, manages to weave an assessment of the corruption at the heart of Victorian society.

Dickens also introduced to many readers the historical novel as well as the dectective novel and the thriller, genres that maintain their popularity and widespread appeal to this day.One historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities was written by Dickens after having read Thomas Carlysle's The French Revolution:  A History.  Carlysle's study of the oppression of the poor greatly influenced the themes of A Tale of Two Cities in which Dickens draws parallels between France at the time of the Revolution and England.  Dickens, of course, was concerned that something like the revolution could occur in his own country.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dickens was enormously successful.  He was a real rock star in his day.  In addition to everything he accomplished in his life, I think one of his greatest accomplishments is that he was able to write books that still touch us today, and still make us stop and think about the issues he raised.

lask60 | Student

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