June 9, 2008

Charles Dickens

Today, June 9, in 1870, Charles Dickens died. His writing really did a lot of good for the common people and outcasts, improving poor working conditions, and creating child labor laws. His tomb is inscribed with - "He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."

I've both read and listened to, most of Charles Dickens' novels. Though not his most popular or most remembered book, my favorite is one of his last books, which was made into a movie, which I really like - Our Mutual Friend. And I've read GK Chesterton's book on Charles Dickens, who raves about his writing and likes Our Mutual Friend best too. So I'm in good company!

A Tale of Two Cities depicts both England and France. Dickens was trying to show the difference between a country who lived believing in God and another who seemed to be rejecting God - especially during the era of the guillotine!

Though Great Expectations may be his most remembered, it is my least favorite. Oliver Twist really tugged at heart-strings for street children in horrible working and living conditions. I like David Copperfield, and feel it's autobiographical. Little Dorrit could be autobiographical too. I saw it as a movie from our library, and it depicts life of families who's main bread-winner is in debtor's prison, with the family living there, but able to come and go, whereas the one who could be working to pay off his debts, is not free to go (many of them were shipped to American and Australian colonies).

There's another book series us Coloradoans like, since they take place very close to home - by Ralph Moody. Little Britches is the first book (another title earlier) made into a movie (with the current title). In that first book in the series, the family is homesteading west of Denver. It's a true story and as good a read as Little House on the Prairie. On their 'day of rest' they often went into the Bear Creek River basin below their ranch for a picnic and Mother would read from the books they ordered in the post. Charles Dickens' writings were what the book mentions being read most.

Charles Dickens said, "This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in."


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