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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1answer
681 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 ...
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1answer
67 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 ...
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0answers
25 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, ...
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44 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 ...
6
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1answer
430 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, ...
3
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1answer
230 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 ...
1
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1answer
67 views

What does “raw” mean in this context from Great Expectations?

I have just started reading Great Expectations. I want to improve my English, and since I'm not a native speaker, I have difficulty understanding what "raw" means in the following piece of ...
15
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1answer
2k views

Dickens invented the scary clown?

Today in "Messages from Firefox" (some annoying thing that comes up in my browser), I saw the following which piqued my interest: Dickens invented the scary clown, the ‘80s perfected it. ...
6
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1answer
179 views

Why did Mr Jaggers have death masks of two of his former clients, Great Expectations Chapter 24?

This question is regarding Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Chapter 24 (also known as Volume II Chapter V). Mr Jaggers has two casts in his office, revealed by Wemmick to be death masks of his ...
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51 views

Meaning of ‘matted well’ and ‘silk gowns’ in Bleak House

I’ve come across the following passage in Chapter 1 of Bleak House by Charles Dickens: On such an afternoon the various solicitors in the cause, some two or three of whom have inherited it from their ...
4
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1answer
53 views

Where in the book Little Dorrit does Mrs. General tell Amy that society is not the place for unburdening oneself?

In the BBC mini-series Little Dorrit there is a scene in which Mrs. General tells Amy the correct opinions which she is to express concerning the sites that she and other English tourists visit on the ...
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To what degree is Charles Darnay’s decision to go to Paris at the end of Book the Second a noble or virtuous decision?

I am having trouble with this question from "A Tale of Two Cities." Just wondering if someone could help with this. If anyone could bring up quotes as well, that would be great!
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Why does Carton feel so bad about himself?

Carton throughout A Tale of Two Cities is shown as a man who hates who he is, and wishes he could be someone different but cannot. I think one of the best quotes to represent this is in "Fellow of No ...
1
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1answer
602 views

Conclusion of 'The Trial for Murder' by Charles Dickens

What does the last quote of the short story 'The Trial for Murder' mean? Why did the 'Murderer' says [...] Before I was taken, he somehow got to my bedside in the night, woke me, and put a rope ...
4
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1answer
1k views

What exactly does Dickens mean to say here?

In the beginning of Stave 2, after Marley's ghost has disappeared, Scrooge wakes up believing he has overslept and that the time at which the first ghost was to appear has passed. To confirm this, he ...
7
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1answer
456 views

Meaning of sentence from “A Tale of Two Cities”

Reins and whip and coachman and guard, however, in combination, had read that article of war which forbade a purpose otherwise strongly in favour of the argument, that some brute animals are endued ...
3
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1answer
179 views

What is “the fabled obelisk” alluding to in The Boy at Mugby?

In this fragment from The Boy at Mugby within paragraph 60: The swelling tumult was arrested in its rise. Sniff, bore away by his servile disposition, had drored up his leg with a higher and a ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Where did Charles Dickens come up with the name “Magwitch”?

One of the key characters in Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" is a person named Abel Magwitch. "Magwitch" doesn't appear to be an existing name, nor does it seem to be a word with a different ...
8
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1answer
109 views

What was Sydney Carton doing in France?

I reread A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens recently and was struck at how coincidental it was that Sydney Carton just happened to be in France during the time Charles Darnay was accused the ...
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57 views

What was Dickens's attitude towards revolution?

Charles Dickens wrote two "historical novels": A Tale of Two Cities, set during the French Revolution, and Barnaby Rudge, set during the Gordon Riots. I find it interesting that both of these books ...
5
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2answers
905 views

What happened to Marley in A Christmas Carol?

Whatever happened to Scrooge’s partner after he gave his warning about the three ghosts? I know it’s way before Christmas, but I just have to know! It just seems strange to me that he’s never ...
4
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1answer
456 views

Why did Dickens write A Christmas Carol

I am currently revising for my main exams and I'm not too sure on why Dickens wrote the novella. I know he wanted the poverty of children and families to change but how could I write this for a exam?
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5k views

In Great Expectations, who is the man at the pub in Chapter Ten?

In Chapter 10 of Dickens's Great Expectations, Pip goes to the pub to find Joe, as told by his sister. When he enters the pub, Joe and Mr. Wopsle are sitting at a table next to a mysterious man: He ...
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1answer
242 views

What is the name of the writing style in “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens? Why is that style used?

In Bleak House by Charles Dickens, the viewpoint frequently changes from Esther Summerson, or first-person, to third person. What is this style known as? Also, why did Dickens place such a important ...
8
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1answer
116 views

Are Nicholas's sentiments on playwrights those of his creator?

In chapter 48 of Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens expresses quite strong views on writers of plays adapted from books: 'Shot beyond him [Shakespear], I mean,' resumed Nicholas, 'in quite another ...
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2answers
116 views

Use of 'Genius' in Nicholas Nickleby?

In Nicholas Nickleby, people use the word "genius" to describe people they don't even know and in such a way that I do not believe it has the same meaning as we now use it with. For instance, Mr ...
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1answer
196 views

Did Charles Dickens change the endings of any of his books other than Great Expectations?

I know that Charles Dickens changed the ending to Great Expectations after prompting. Did he do so with any of his other books? Of course, he may have changed the endings of all his books a hundred ...
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2answers
2k views

What did Charles Dickens say about genius and pain?

While reading Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale, I came across this quote (emphasis mine): ...Charles Dickens in an after-dinner speech had stated that genius was an infinite capacity for taking ...