Questions tagged [charles-dickens]

Questions about the works of the English author Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) or his life as a writer.

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What does "well may" mean in "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens?

Well may the court be dim, with wasting candles here and there; well may the fog hang heavy in it, as if it would never get out; well may the stained-glass windows lose their colour and admit no light ...
user20437's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
676 views

What is this children's book referenced in Little Dorrit?

In Little Dorrit, Dickens writes: A communication of great trap-doors in the floor and roof with the workshop above and the workshop below, made a shaft of light in this perspective, which brought to ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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Considering the similarities between H.G. Wells’ Kipps and Charles Dickens’ Pip can we draw a conclusion regarding parallels between the works?

Considering the example H.G. Wells’ Kipps and Charles Dickens’ Pip there are obvious parallels between these characters and their respective stories. (For example, both are orphans brought up by ...
schweppz's user avatar
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What is the significance of "biting the side of his forefinger" in Great Expectations?

In Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Mr Jaggers is described repeatedly as biting his forefinger, sometimes biting it "at" someone. Examples: Then, and not sooner, I became aware of a ...
Paul Martin's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
406 views

Why does the clerk go down the slide twenty times in "A Christmas Carol"?

In "A Christmas Carol", when the clerk gets off work, he leaves, goes down a slide twenty times, and then runs home: The clerk promised that he would, and Scrooge walked out with a growl. ...
Mithical's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
159 views

Meaning of "his own coach and six, or his own coach and sixty"

What is the meaning of the "six [...] and sixty" passage in the following quote from Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Chapter 3? So with the three passengers shut up in the narrow compass of ...
anjan 's user avatar
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5 votes
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Are the two death masks Jack Dawkins and Fagin?

The two death masks owned by Jaggers are Jack (John) Dawkins, a.k.a. the Artful Dodger. And as to the reference to previous clients' 'moveable property' such as brooches and small valuables, he ...
Heath Badga's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
277 views

Why did Wemmick want to keep his marriage secret in "Great Expectations"?

The answer to the recent question "Why does Wemmick bring a fishing-rod on his "walk" with Pip?" explained that this was a ruse by Wemmick to conceal his wedding. My question is ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
312 views

Why does Wemmick bring a fishing-rod on his "walk" with Pip?

In chapter 55 of Great Expectations, Wemmick invites Pip to go on a morning walk with him. As they are leaving Wemmick's house, Pip narrates that: I was considerably surprised to see Wemmick take up ...
DLosc's user avatar
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Meaning of “toning herself off into the married state” in “Little Dorrit”

In book 1, chapter 2 of Little Dorrit (1857), Charles Dickens describes a party of travellers in Marseilles: The rest of the party were of the usual materials: travellers on business, and travellers ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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Meaning of "contrast of her extraction to this girl's and mine" in "Little Dorrit"

In chapter 27 of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Miss Wade dismisses her visitors Mr Meagles and Arthur Clennam, who have failed to persuade Harriet Beadle ("Tattycoram") to return to her ...
anjan 's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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Meaning of "nobody seemed to be giving the dinners they had gone to" in "Little Dorrit"

The following paragraph is from Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Chapter 27. It was now summer-time; a grey, hot, dusty evening. They rode to the top of Oxford Street, and there alighting, dived in ...
anjan 's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
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In Dickens' "The Chimes", why do bells have godparents and mugs?

Not long into The Chimes: A Goblin Story, one of Dickens' lesser-known Christmas stories, there's this paragraph about bells: They were old Chimes, trust me. Centuries ago, these Bells had been ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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20 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why does Marley in A Christmas Carol claim that Scrooge will be visited across three nights?

In Dickens' famous tale A Christmas Carol, the ghost of Jacob Marley clearly states to Scrooge that he is to be visited on three consecutive nights: “Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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How to analyse a literary passage or extract? [closed]

How to analyse a passage like this or any passage from Great Expectations: Analyse the following passage from Great Expectations? I put up for the night at the local inn, and got up early the next ...
Ihssan Benbouhia's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
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What are the practical schools of literary criticism that can be applied to analyze "Great Expectations"? [closed]

I am interested in analyzing the whole novel. What are the schools of literary criticism I can apply to Great Expectations? To which area can each school be directed? I would be delighted if each ...
Ihssan Benbouhia's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
198 views

Meaning of "the rather" in "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens

Here's a passage from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, book 1, chapter 1: But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about ...
anjan 's user avatar
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Meaning of "called for quarter" in "The Old Curiosity Shop"?

What is the meaning of 'called for quarter' in this phrase from Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, Chapter 6? With which defiances the dwarf flourished his cudgel, and dancing round the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Who was killed in the sentence below?

From Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities: The highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his ...
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3 votes
1 answer
230 views

Inheritance of the title "Marquis St. Evrémonde" in "A Tale of Two Cities"

In A Tale of Two Cities, the title "Marquis St. Evrémonde" is held by Darnay's uncle, but had previously been held by Darnay's father, for according to Dr. Manette (book III, chapter X) ...
RLH's user avatar
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What does the term "worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance " mean?

Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, Chapter 24 'Mr F. was so devoted to me that he never could bear me out of his sight,’ said Flora, ‘though of course I am unable to say how long that might have lasted ...
anjan 's user avatar
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What does "series of coughs" mean?

Little Dorrit received a call that same evening from Mr Plornish, who, having intimated that he wished to speak to her privately, in a series of coughs so very noticeable as to favour the idea that ...
anjan 's user avatar
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4 votes
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What does the "who has not dined with these?" mean?

This is from Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, Chapter 16: The expressionless uniform twenty houses, all to be knocked at and rung at in the same form, all approachable by the same dull steps, all ...
anjan 's user avatar
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Meaning of "unsatisfied claim upon his justice"

This is from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, Chapter 16: As often as he began to consider how to increase this inheritance, or to lay it by, so often his misgiving that there was some one with an ...
anjan 's user avatar
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1 answer
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Who is Little Dorrit referring to when she says, "Don’t encourage him to ask"?

I am currently reading Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens and have come across the following passage from chapter 14: ‘Can you guess,’ said Little Dorrit, folding her small hands tight in one another, ...
anjan 's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
111 views

What does the term "Bred in a creed too darkly audacious to pursue" mean from "Little Dorrit"?

Dickens's Little Dorrit, chapter 13: Bred in a creed too darkly audacious to pursue, through its process of reserving the making of man in the image of his Creator to the making of his Creator in the ...
anjan 's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
677 views

Do native speakers face difficulty understanding Charles Dickens?

I am not a native speaker of English. Though I have learned the language well enough to comprehend modern English novels fairly well, when it comes to Charles Dickens I am completely defeated. It is ...
anjan 's user avatar
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"No more than you could talk Beef into him" from Little Dorrit Charles Dickens Chapter 12

I am reading Little Dorrit By Charles Dickens , and I would like to know what the following phrase means: When a man felt, on his own back and in his own belly, that poor he was, that man (Mr ...
anjan 's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
276 views

Who is saying "what was a man to do?" from the following passage in "Little Dorrit"?

Then you see, some people as was better off said, and a good many such people lived pretty close up to the mark themselves if not beyond it so he’d heerd, that they was ‘improvident’ (that was the ...
anjan 's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
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What does the term "one heat down" in Dickens's "Little Dorrit" mean?

Mr Casby lived in a street in the Gray’s Inn Road, which had set off from that thoroughfare with the intention of running at one heat down into the valley. Little Dorrit, chapter 13 What does the ...
anjan 's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
594 views

What does "much worse fed and lodged and treated altogether than" mean in chapter 12 from Dickens's Little Dorrit?

Chapter 12 in Dickens's Little Dorrit contains the following passage: There was old people, after working all their lives, going and being shut up in the workhouse, much worse fed and lodged and ...
anjan 's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
145 views

Who ran away with Mrs Captain Barbary in Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit"?

From Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, Chapter 12: The Principal and instrument soon drove off together to a stable-yard in High Holborn, where a remarkably fine grey gelding, worth, at the lowest ...
anjan 's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
146 views

Who is the "unconscious stranger of Mrs. Micawber’s last letter" in "David Copperfield"?

From chapter 52 of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens: His house was not far off; and as the street-door opened into the sitting-room, and he bolted in with a precipitation quite his own, we found ...
Ethan's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is meant by "without resorting to the sexton's spade that buried Jacob Marley" in A Christmas Carol?

Near the end of Stave 3 of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge a Christmas party hosted by Scrooge's nephew Fred. Fred's wife plays a song that was familiar with Scrooge's ...
M. Justin's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is meant by "I am standing in the spirit at your elbow" in A Christmas Carol?

Near the beginning of Stave 2 of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Past draws aside Scrooge's bed curtains: The curtains of his bed were drawn aside, I tell you, by a hand. Not the curtains ...
M. Justin's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
249 views

What does, "The period of exaggerated reaction consequent on all public wrongdoing..." mean?

It says in Great Expectations, The period of exaggerated reaction consequent on all public wrongdoing—and which is always its heaviest and longest punishment—was still far off. What is this "...
yogazefish's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
210 views

In Great Expectations, why were thieves happy when Mr. Jaggers spoke?

In Great Expectations, when Pip, the protagonist, and Wemmick, his acquaintance, see Mr. Jaggers, a very strong lawyer, in court, Pip remarks that Thieves and thieftakers hung in dread rapture on his ...
yogazefish's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "Some people do the same by their religion" mean?

It says in Great Expectations Mrs. Joe was a very clean housekeeper, but had an exquisite art of making her cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than dirt itself. Cleanliness is next to ...
yogazefish's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does, "‘Much of that!’ said he, glancing about him over the cold wet flat. ‘I wish I was a frog. Or a eel!'" mean?

It says in Great Expectations, ‘Much of that!’ said he, glancing about him over the cold wet flat. ‘I wish I was a frog. Or a eel!’ What does this mean/imply?
yogazefish's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "...they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets..." mean?

It says in Great Expectations, To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of five little ...
yogazefish's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does "a sort of Hercules in strength and weakness" mean?

It says in Great Expectations, Joe was a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face, and with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they seemed to have somehow got mixed ...
yogazefish's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
241 views

What is the connection between the Bleak House in Broadstairs and the one in Dickens's novel?

Dickens's novel Bleak House shares its name with an actual house in the English seaside town of Broadstairs. Dickens actually stayed in that house for a while, and wrote David Copperfield there, but ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
153 views

What does this paragraph mean in Dickens' American Notes?

I came across the following paragraph in Dickens' American Notes: I have made no reference to my reception, nor have I suffered it to influence me in what I have written; for, in either case, I ...
A. Goudarzi's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
217 views

Does "Great Expectations" refer to the sport of cricket, in the scene of Joe meeting Pip in London?

In Great Expectations, the scene of Joe meeting Pip in London narrates: “I really believe Joe would have prolonged this word (mightily expressive to my mind of some architecture that I know) into a ...
Failed Scientist's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why does Mr Merdle ask for a penknife with a darker handle in "Little Dorrit"?

In Chapter 24 of Little Dorrit, in one of the last scenes, Mr Merdle asks for a penknife. When Mrs Sparkler hands him the knife he asks if he could have one with a "darker" handle. ‘So I am ...
Artichoke's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
105 views

Is "Doctor Marigold" the nickname of the cheap-jack, or is "Marigold" his real name?

Doctor Marigold is the titular "cheap-jack" in Dickens' Doctor Marigold. Is "Marigold" his real name, with "Doctor" an addition, or is "Doctor Marigold" a ...
math boy's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
156 views

Was Esther Summerson pleasantly surprised or otherwise at being presented the housekeeping keys of Bleak House?

In Chapter VI of Bleak House, Esther Summerson, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone are just arrived at Bleak House and introduced to John Jarndyce. A conversation touching on the Jellybys, the east wind, ...
Soyuz42's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
221 views

Meaning of "put in all the salt and pepper"

From Chapter 48 of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations: “Mr. Jaggers was for her [Molly, Mr. Jaggers's maidservant],” pursued Wemmick, with a look full of meaning, “and worked the case in a way ...
Soyuz42's user avatar
  • 538
8 votes
1 answer
923 views

Why does Mr. Pumblechook call Mrs. Joe "mum"?

I noticed that at the beginning of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens that Mr. or Uncle Pumblechook kept calling Mrs. Joe mum. Why is that? I know for sure that Mrs. Joe didn't give birth to him, ...
Noaki Sato's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "in coarse gray" and "iron" mean here?

I continue to read "Great Expectations" and there is another question about some words that I'd like to put. A fearful man, in a coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg. I emphasized the ...
Andrzej_200's user avatar