Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Charles Dickens' Writing

Not many people read Charles Dickens' novels. I admit it. Most of them are on the long side, and are sometimes considered a 'hard read' because of the style. But my thought is, so what? So what if it
Young David Copperfield
takes you a month or two to read it? So what if you have the read the sentence over again because you didn't understand it the first time? It makes the book all the more wonderful, all the more intriguing. And at the end of the 700 page David Copperfield you will feel, as I did, that you have accomplished something.

Plus, even if the writing may be on the sorta hard to read, it is amazing. The descriptions, the use of words, the use of only needed words, are amazing! I admit, there are some books where I read a description and half the words were useless, and in the end I get an incomplete picture of what the author was trying to paint for me. I know that it is hard, often very hard, to get into words what you see in your head. But that's all the more reason to appreciate the amazing-ness of Dickens' writing!

The other thing I love about Dickens' books, are the story lines. There is not one book like the other. The story lines are completely different, the character situations have a distinct contrast. Often one author will have several books that are pretty similar. Jane Austen for instance. All of her books (if my memory is correct) are based in the Regency age, are always about a girl, and, of course, romance. Now, nothing is wrong with that. Not at all. I admire Jane Austen's writing, and enjoy reading her books. But it makes me admire Charles Dickens all the more for having all of his books completely different.

Let's take a look at two of his books: A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield. A Tale of Two Cities takes place around 1789 during the French Revaluation (the story starts a little bit before it) and has a several main characters; a father and his daughter (a young lady) and two young men. However, David Copperfield takes place in 1820 and revolves around a little boy, following his life from the time he was born until he's about 50. Just looking at the summary of those, you can see the stark difference! 

I have not read all of his books, but I am slowly making my way through them. I started with A Tale of Two Cities and was thrown violently into complicated writing. Up until then I had been
Pip, from Great Expectations
very easy books that took me about a day or two to read - sometimes longer. It wasn't really on purpose, I just hadn't gotten a chance to read 'hard reads', and the books I was reading were good story lines, just really easy to read. So jumping from easy reads to a Dickens' novels I have admit I didn't understand half of the book. And I never took the time to re-read sentences. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with going back and re-reading sentences! I got the story line in the end, but I didn't get to enjoy slowing engulfing the wonderful writing. A while later a friend suggested I read
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens' 700 page masterpiece. There wasn't a book from her that I didn't like thus far, so I eagerly started it. It is, indeed, a masterpiece. It took me almost exactly a month to read, and I adored it! (I personally think it's a good one to start with despite the thickness of it) After that I read Oliver Twist, which I really liked though it's certainly an older kid book. And I know that some people don't like it... so be prepared. Next followed Great Expectations, which was just as wonderful as the others, though defiantly on the sadder side. Most people actually consider this to boring, and a lot of people stop half way through. But don't. Read it until the end, give it a chance! It is hard sometimes to get passed a slow part, but it's worth it! I quickly read A Christmas Carol after I finished Great Expectations, which was really good too!

I could go on and on about these four books, but I will leave it at that! I want to read Little Dorrit next, but having heard that there's objectionable content in the movie, one of my friends is kindly looking over the book for me to make sure it's alright to read. =) But let ye be warned (What am I, a pirate?) that there is stuff in some of the books that should be read with.... caution, may be the word for it. 

These books have led me into other worlds, or rather, time periods. The times that I didn't live in, but are history. They are sometimes portrayed as beautiful and happy, which they were, but there was grief , there were poor people, and there were broken hearts. And while some books focus on
Oliver Twist. NOTE: I have not watched this. Nor do I recommend it.
the happy parts of life (or time periods) and try to ignore the sad, broken parts, Dickens' carefully and accurately shows the happy and sad parts, weaving them together to make incredible stories. So if you come across a Dickens' novel that seems harsh, just remember: that's how it was then, that circumstance most likely happened often...

So my question for you, is, have you entered into these worlds? Have you accuratley seen through these masterpieces the lives of people who lived in the past?

Here are a couple graphics I made of the movie version of David Copperfield. It was really good, and really close to the book!
<3 Eva
Click all 3 images for full size!!
The book, David Copperfield, is in first person. And this is the very first sentence of the book. (That is my hat. haha, and the book I borrowed from a friend.)
Graphics made by Miss Evelyn


  1. Miss Elspeth BinnerMay 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I read this a few days ago and really enjoyed it!! You have inspired me (actually before you posted this...@ church...) to read more of Charles Dickens! And I have really been enjoying them!! Thanks for this post! =D

    1. I so glad you enjoyed this post, and have had the joy of reading his books! I do so love discussing all the books we've read so far, and look forward to ones we will hopefully read soon. =)


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