Charles Dickens- Biography, Quotes, Books and Life Lessons

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Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) is a famous Victorian novelist. He is known for creating characters in English Literature. He wrote his first novel, The Pickwick Papers (1836) at age twenty-five.  He would produce entertaining writings that the public desire and write about social issues and shed light on the poor and oppressed. Some of his well-known novels are Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Dombey and Son(1846-1848), and Great Expectation (1860-1861).

The Life Of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, full name (Charles John Huffam Dickens).  Born on February, 7th, 1812, in Landport, Portsmouth. He is the second of eight children. Due to financial difficulties, his family often moved around and finally settled in a small, impoverished town of London in 1822. His father had a hard time managing money and was always in debt. Because of this, his father was imprisoned, and he had to withdraw from school at 12 years old. Charles worked in a warehouse where he polish shoes to help support his younger siblings. This event had a social and psychological impact on his life, as it made him experience poverty and enable him to have an influential voice for the working class.

What Can We Learn From Charles Dickens?

 

Life would be happier and satisfying if we do meaningful things for people, rather than only focusing on ourselves. Helping and serving others makes our heart feel good. There are physical and mental benefits from helping others, such as lowering blood pressure, longer lifespan and reducing depression. Putting the need of others before your own strengthen relationships and makes us less selfish and greedy and it creates a stronger bond and connection to that person. Charles Dickens was a big believer in helping others.

A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.- Charles Dickens

In his novel, Oliver Twist,  Charles created a young character that goes through a series of hardships and misfortunes.  He communicated various life lessons that we could learn. When the character (Oliver) arrives in London, he had many occasion to quit when faced with difficulties. However, he got up every time he fell and does not stop until he reaches his destination.

If you have started a journey, do not be afraid and quit in fear of failure. It is impossible to see progress all at once, but focusing on small steps and staying positive will lead to a prosperous and memorable milestone. The success of a painful journey will become an experience that will always make us feel proud for not giving up. So, be strong and endure the pain, it is the defining moments of your life.

In the classic book, Great Expectations, Charles illustrates how things don't often turn out perfectly. The character met a wealthy woman and fell in love with her daughter- Estella. But, he soon discovered the rich, extravagant life was not for him. And, good can come from bad. With every bad situation, there are profound lessons that will make us better people. Another lesson we can learn from Great Expectations, is to embrace poverty and where you came from.  Throughout this book, Pip struggles with his little belongings and embarrassment. Later on, he realized that it is important to remember your roots and to remain humble.

 
Charles Dickens On Wealth and Happiness

Charles Dickens also places a special emphasis on wealth and happiness with the following quote from his novel, David Copperfield (his life from birth to adulthood)

"My other piece of advice, Copperfield,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure, nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result in misery.’”

In the 19th century, Charles compared the upper and lower class in London, and examine the fact that money does not affect happiness. This idea is illustrated more in his novel, Great Expectations, where some characters had little money but were very happy with other luxuries that money can't buy, such as a happy family. And the other character Miss Havisham, who owns a large estate and could afford to have servants-- she had a lot of anger and was never satisfied with the amount of wealth she accumulated. The other character  Jaggers, are all living example of how Charles Dickens illustrates how money or lack of it does not determine a person happiness.

Recap and Valuable Life Lessons From Charles Dickens
It is possible to escape a life of poverty and family difficulties.

His parents had a favorite child,  his sister Fanny.  They invested money in her education and believe she was very talented, while Charles was sent to work in a factory. What made Charles Dickens special? He had talent, drive, desire and he believed in himself. He worked extremely hard to turn his life into a reality.

It is possible to be happy again. 

Bad times are temporary, and only you have the power to change your life.

We will either have a positive or negative impact on the people around us.

Discover the things you have to offer the world, whether if it is speaking out to make a difference, writing about issues, or serving others. As Charles stated, a day is wasted if it's not spent on others.

Money is not the key to happiness

Although it can provide us with freedom, comfort, and resources-- it is not equivalent to happiness. Some people become arrogant, develop greed, and misery.  There are better luxuries in the world that money cannot buy, such as a happy marriage, children, beautiful friendship and a meaningful career.

Never quit or give up on any journey

 There will be pain and obstacles, but those are the defining moments of your life. It builds character, develops strength and creates memories. So, enjoy the struggle!

 

Charles Dickens Quotes

 

Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort. ~Charles Dickens 

The ability to think critically and intelligence level will decline with excess comfort and lack of mental stimulation. Charles Dickens is indicating that is it important to keep your mind active, by reading books, and continuous learning. (click here to read more)

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ~
Charles Dickens
Nearly all of us have a routine life. We wake up, go to work, take care of our family, sleep, eat and repeat. In this quote, Charles Dickens is indicating that no life is useless if it makes a difference. There is opportunity in each day to "lighten the burden of another".
 

Charles Dickens Books

Charles Dickens wrote approximately 15 books, not including articles, essays, novellas, and short stories

Published Books By Charles Dickens

  1. The Pickwick Papers – 1836
  2. Oliver Twist – 1837
  3. Nicholas Nickleby- 1838
  4. The Old Curiosity Shop – 1840
  5. Barnaby Rudge – 1841
  6. Martin Chuzzlewit – 1843
  7. Dombey and Son – 1846
  8. David Copperfield – 1849
  9. Bleak House – 1852
  10. Hard Times – 1854
  11. Little Dorrit – 1855
  12. A Tale of Two Cities – 1859
  13. Great Expectations – 1860
  14. Our Mutual Friend – 1864
  15. The Mystery of Edwin Drood – 1870- Incomplete novel, only half-way finished Charles Dickens Died.
 
Short Stories and Other works by Charles Dickens
  • The Battle of Life – Published in 1846, it’s the fourth of his Christmas books.
  • A Child’s Dream of a Star – Published in 1850
  • The Chimes: A Goblin Story
  • A Christmas Carol – Published in 1843
  • A Christmas Tree
  • The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home – Published in 1845
  • A Dinner at Poplar Walk
  • Doctor Marigold’s Prescriptions – Published in 1865 in All The Year Round
  • A Flight – Published in 1851 in Household Words
  • Frozen Deep – Dickens and Wilkie Collins wrote this play in 1857
  • George Silverman’s Explanation – Published in 1868
  • Going into Society – Published in 1858
  • The Haunted Man – Published in 1848, it’s the fifth of Dickens’s Christmas novellas.
  • A Holiday Romance – Published in 1868
  • The Holly-Tree
  • Hunted Down – Published in 1859
  • The Lamplighter – Published in 1838
  • The Long Voyage – Published in 1853 in the Household Words magazine
  • Master Humphrey’s Clock
  • A Message from the Sea – This short story appeared in 1860
  • Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy – Published in 1864
  • Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings – Published in 1863
  • No Thoroughfare
  • Nobody’s Story
  • Public Life of Mr. Trumble, Once Mayor of Mudfog
  • Sketches by Boz -1839
  • The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton
  • Sunday under Three Heads
  • Tom Tiddler’s Ground
  • Traveling Abroad – City of London Churches
  • The Uncommercial Traveller
  • Wreck of the Golden Mary