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The Life and Adventures of Charles Dickens. A Gentleman of Great Expectations. Episode I:. Childhood Bliss/Working-Class Blues. Act I: “I Am Born”. Born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England, second of 8 children Father: John Dickens, Clerk in the Navy Pay Office

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the life and adventures of charles dickens

The Life and Adventures of Charles Dickens

A Gentleman of Great Expectations

episode i

Episode I:

Childhood Bliss/Working-Class Blues

act i i am born
Act I: “I Am Born”
  • Born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England, second of 8 children
  • Father: John Dickens, Clerk in the Navy Pay Office
  • Mother: Elizabeth Barrow Dickens, genteel daughter of chief official in Navy Pay Office
act i i am born7
Act I: “I Am Born”
  • Parents from lower-middle-class but stressed gentility
  • Maternal Grandfather: Fugitive embezzler
  • Paternal Grandparents: Butler and Housekeeper for Lord Crewe
act i i am born8
Act I: “I Am Born”
  • John and Elizabeth Dickens lead convivial lives
  • John Dickens’ improvidence leads family deeper into debt
  • Family moves to increasingly poorer lodgings
act ii childhood bliss
Act II: “Childhood Bliss”
  • 1816—the Dickens family move to Chatham where Charles spends the happiest years of his childhood
act ii childhood bliss13
Act II: “Childhood Bliss”
  • Literary Influences:
    • Fairy tales; The Arabian Nights Entertainments
    • Ghost stories/macabre horror stories; Mary Weller’s bedtime stories
    • 18th-Century novels: Fielding, Smollett, Defoe, Cervantes
    • Theater: family theatricals and visits to the Theater Royal
act iii i become a lad of great expectations
Act III: “I Become a Lad of Great Expectations”
  • Charles is taught to consider himself an especially gifted child
  • Educated at home by Elizabeth Dickens
  • Inspired by John Dickens to become a gentleman
  • Educated at school by William Giles
act iv great expectations realized
Act IV: “Great Expectations Realized?”
  • Charles’ family move to London
  • Charles boards at William Giles school a few months
  • Charles travels alone to join his family
act iv i become neglected and am provided for
Act IV: “I Become Neglected and Am Provided For?”
  • Deep in debt, Charles’ family send him to pawn family possessions
  • At age 12, Charles becomes member of working class when parents send him to work in blacking warehouse
act iv i become neglected and am provided for18
Act IV: “I Become Neglected and Am Provided For?”
  • John Dickens is arrested for debt and family is imprisoned in the Marshalsea debtor’s prison
  • Charles lodges alone and supports himself
  • Charles is ridiculed by “common laboring boys” but befriended by Bob Fagin
act iv i become neglected and am provided for22
Act IV: “I Become Neglected and Am Provided For?”
  • John Dickens is released from prison
  • Recognizing Charles’ humiliation, John Dickens removes him from the warehouse
  • Mother wants Charles to return to work, but father sends him to school
act iv i become neglected and am provided for23
Act IV: “I Become Neglected and Am Provided For?”
  • Effects of childhood experience
    • Sympathy for the poor
    • Obsession with figure of abused/abandoned child
    • Rage against authority figures indifferent to suffering
    • Obsession with criminal life
act iv i become neglected and am provided for24
Act IV: “I Become Neglected and Am Provided For?”
  • Effects of childhood experience
    • Disgust for society’s materialistic values
    • Obsession with material success to avoid further destitution
    • Frantic energy, earnestness, determination to work hard and succeed
    • Need for adulation and sympathy
slide26
Will our hero recover from his childhood tragedy and find lasting happiness? Join us for Episode II:“London Tragedy and Triumph”
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