Don't Know Dickens

Charles Dickens, that is.

A good man

Response from class

Learning that Dickens was considered to be a “good man” might change how I read his work, but I’m not sure why. Maybe it gives him credibility to comment on how others live and interact with society.  Or is it that “good” people just have more authority to tell the rest of us what’s up? I think this will help me slow down with my reading to pay attention to the details of his characters and the setting. Perhaps then I will see and appreciate what he is doing in his novels because it is clear that Our Mutual Friend is more than I good story.  

The Victorian Period

This is not a time period that I know much about (I liked American Lit only, it seems), but I’m learning. The differences in the social classes and the gender roles are standout issues, and, even though I am new to Dickens, I understand that there are real problems in Victorian London. I want to understand more of what is at stake for Lizzie, Charley, and other characters, so that maybe I can get so hope that their circumstances can improve. (I really hope that Lizzie has a plan for herself, too.)

The contrast between the Hexams’ home life and the Boffins’ is impossible to ignore, but why is there such a difference? Luck? Heredity? Foul play? Both Gaffer and Boffin seem like hard-working men, but why is one fishing dead bodies out of the river and the other is renaming his new digs?

Notes from class (ignore–I’m moving these to my pencil-paper notes later)

champion of young women in trouble

helped the less fortunate

is this why his social analysis can be so critical?

reflected the time period in which his was writing


education/no education

family/family trouble

women/ men (gender roles)

social classes/ transitions between them

children who cannot be supported by the family (has to go)

sinister characters/good characters

public sphere where  men work/ private sphere where women work


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One thought on “A good man

  1. I agree the “difference in social class and gender roles” stands out to me as well. I think these are really good things to keep in mind as we continue to read.

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