Describing the three most remarkable features of Charles Dickens’s mastery needs some special attention to his writings. An extensive and minute study of the Victorian Age novelist’s works can help understand only a small part of his command as an author. Even as a social critic, he excels at all boundaries of proficiency and reputation.
Valuable experiences from childhood times turned Dickens into a perfectionist in portraying every portion of human society through words. History reveals that being a member of a poverty-stricken family, the English writer learned to observe life with utmost curiosity-filled eyes. And before reaching the age limit of ten, he started earning as part of his livelihood.
At twenty-five, his satirical stories and sketches began attracting many people. Most probably, his journey as an inhabitant in the literary arena got going from this time. His unmatchable expertise in writing social novels first became evident through Oliver Twist. The story helped him earn enormous fame and shaped his future course as a great Victorian-era novelist.
His observation of human society urged him to draw those specific elements in his novels that needed urgent reforms. And this unfolds the first feature of his mastery as an author and a social critic.
1) Dickens’s portrayal of society to unlock the need for reforms
Even today, Charles Dickens’s novels appear as important societal documents. The famous English writer satirised various evil practices, crawling in the contemporary social, economic, and political arena. Through keen observation, he depicted those parts with unavoidable caricatures. His famous novel Hard Times is an excellent example of such depiction.
In Hard Times, the novelist made some sharp attacks on evil practices during his time. He severely attacked the bitter realities associated with the educational system. He even fiercely satirized the hugely discussed industrialism that only breathed immoral motive came out from people with self-interests. Dickens made the bitter conflict and discord between the money-hungry industrialists and the poor labourers.
The fight between the brutal and devilish nature of the factory owners and the stubborn trade unions is acutely visible in the novel. As a social critic, he even didn’t spare to satirically criticize the despicable nature of the Parliament and its members. In a word, Dickens ridiculed institutions associated with education, economy, and law.
The English writer’s observations in the shape of stories aimed to turn the societal evils into a force to compel the justice system to bring humanistic reforms. Importantly, this trait of the novelist helped him successfully draw the characters possessing a sense of morality and virtue. Clear contrast between the portrayal of virtuous characters and evil people points out accurately Charles Dickens’s mastery.
2) A successful narrator
Many people believe that Charles Dickens is a powerful narrator. His successful drawing of facts and the role of an eye-catching storyteller make him something matchless among other Victorian age writers.
According to another eminent English novelist George Gissing, Dickens’s skill of guessing and narrating is incomparable. He pinpoints how the Victorian novelist can make readers feel a particular situation without making any specific description. His words say how Dickens “hardly even mentions a tree of flower by its name,” yet readers can imagine and feel or perceive the “open air surroundings.”
Undoubtedly, this unmatchable storytelling skill of powerful suggestion needs no extra words to make the readers perceive the actual situation in front of their eyes.
3) Dickens and his pathos
The already discussed English novelist’s potency in bringing satire in the stories shows his domination in the periphery of unparallel writing. Even the said satirising sometimes uncoil the opportunity of humour or laughter. However, his words in the novels reveal how he blended laughter with pathos.
Several literary experts think that Charles Dickens had the unique understanding of sentimentalism that he drew through timeless stories. He could estimate the readers’ points of view, emotions, and feelings. Moreover, these got shaped and expressed through the sob and cry of the characters in his stories. Readers can see how the depiction of the sufferings of innocent children points to the author’s heartfelt sympathy.
Also, the pain of innocent people in the hands of injustice or through the passage of cruel human nature unveils the writer’s sympathetic attitude. The depiction of honest peoples’ painful condition shows his pathos. In addition, it reveals an emotional appeal to humanity for the betterment of human society.
Apart from these three characteristics, there could be dozens of remarkable traits to show Charles Dickens’s mastery. The novelist’s contribution to humanity’s improvement is distinctly visible in his unique indulgence in the literary arena. As an author, he never thought to merely limit his skill in drawing stories. His approach through pen and papers bestowed him with the identity of excellent writer and voice of social reformer.