Modern Reaction Against Charles Dickens

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      The modern man is governed by intellect rather than emotions and imagination. He is swayed by a variety of social, political and religious problems. Therefore, he has no time to sit and enjoy lavish descriptions. He is not ready to read a chronicle of life so different from his own that he can see no psychological reality in it. Consequently, like Scott and other romanticists, Dickens has suffered a slight loss of popularity in the modern age.

      First, Dickens is criticized for the absence of a point of view in his writings. He has no definite philosophy.

      Secondly, his novels have no pattern and no design. He is too much of an entertainer. He introduces anecdote after anecdote remembering only towards the end that he must have a form. “Very often he leaves a great many threads loose till the last chapter, and then finds there is not enough time to tie them up neatly” (Lord David Cecil).

      Thirdly, he has been criticized that his characters are flat and not rounded. They are mere caricatures. They do not grow and change in the course of their lives as depicted by the novelist.

      Fourthly, he has been criticized for sentimentalism in his novels and his efforts to play upon our emotions to wring an extra drop of tear from our eyes.

      Finally, his writing has been accused of dullness and of having unnecessary hyperboles and exaggerations.

      Dickens once again has come alive through the cinema and television. People have once again started reading his works, though he has not yet regained the position he held in the hearts of the people of his lifetime. This revival in interest is perhaps because of our mechanized society which is reminded of a time (Dickens’s time) when individuals existed as individuals and stubbornly insisted on their right to live peacefully.

Critical Questions

“Dickens is not only the most famous of the Victorian Novelists, but he is also the most typical”. Justify this statements.

Discuss. “Dickens is a great entertainer but a poor artist”.

“The faults of Dickens are the faults of his age”. Discuss.

“Dickens is a slave to convention.” Discuss with special reference to David Copperfield.

Write a critical essay how does David Copperfield illustrates the typical merits and defects of Dickens as a novelist.

Point out the element of melodrama. in David Copperfield.

“Dickens may not construct a story well, but he tells it admirably”. Discuss.

Show that Dickens’s plots are Shapeless bags which contain something for everybody

Bring out the various faults of the plot of Dickens. How do you justify these faults?

Write, a critical essay on Dickens’s art of characterization. Also bring out the limitations of Dickens as a delineator of character.

“With the normal in character Dickens does not often concern himself. His greatest success lies with confessed eccentricities.” Justify.

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