Category Archives: Dickens (Charles)

Women Making Sense of Their Lives

The female Bildungsroman arose to help women make sense of their lives in the feminist era.

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Will Oliver Finally Get Health Care?

Oliver Twist experiences the same ups and downs as Obamacare has. But there’s a happy ending.

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Top 10 Parent-Child Classics (Positive)

A top ten list of classics with positive depictions of parent-child relationships.

Also posted in Eliot (George), Hughes (Langston), Lee (Harper), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Ideal Mother

When I think of a mother-son relationship that most matches my own, I think of Betsy Trotwood and David Copperfield.

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Dickens, We Need You (and Also FDR)

With unemployment insurance set to run out next week, it’s time to invoke Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” FDR did so.

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Martin = Copperfield, Incognito = Steerforth

The scene in “David Copperfield” where Steerforth bullies a sensitive teacher provides insight into the Miami Dolphins’ Incognito-Martin case.

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Dickens’ Children Expose Class Unfairness

Charles Dickens’ Sissy Jupe, in her innocence, could teach the GOP something about its insensitivity to the needs of the poor.

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What Dickens Would Say to Today’s GOP

Government support for me but not for thee–the Dickens of “Hard Times” would understand today’s GOP.

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E. W. Jackson, a Modern Day Bounderby

Virginia lieutenant governor candidate E. W. Jackson appears to be attempting a fraud worthy of Dickens’ Josiah Bounderby.

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Lit’s Ten Most Sensitive Guys

To match my 10 strongest literary women characters, here are my 10 most sensitive male characters.

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Baldwin (James), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Fielding (Henry), Fitzgerald (F. Scott), McCarthy (Cormac), Melville (Herman), Milton (John), Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I Have Found My Sheep that Was Lost

Dickens draws on the parable of the lost sheep in shaping “David Copperfield.”

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Poetry vs. Death’s Madness

In the face of death, poetry stands as a bulwark against dissolution, chaos, and madness.

Also posted in Dunnett (Dorothy), McGrath (Thomas), O'Driscoll (Ciaran), Vonnegut (Kurt) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Waiting for the Tide to Turn

Dickinson, Coleridge and Dickens come to mind as we await the moment of my father’s death.

Also posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Dickinson (Emily) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Parental Rule #1: Respect Your Child

“David Copperfield” enjoins us to respect the interiority of children.

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Novels for When We Need Them the Most

I read “David Copperfield” before entering high school. I didn’t know that it would anticipate some of my unhappy experiences there.

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Are There No Emergency Rooms?

Scrooge asks, “Are there no workhouses?” Today’s GOP asks, “Are there no emergency rooms?”

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Compassion for the Poor Is Not Enough

Speaking with the head as well as the heart against oppressive class conditions is necessary in novels as in public policy.

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Gradgrind Takes Over English Classes

The new Common Core State Standards are pushing literature out of English classes.

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Joe Biden Debates Bounderby

In last night’s, Joe Biden found himself up against a modern-day version of Dickens’ Bounderby from “Hard Times.”

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The Road Less Traveled? Nope

Perhaps some entrepreneurs need to believe their success is solely due to their own efforts, as Bounderby, Willy Loman, and the speaker of “The Road Not Taken” do.

Also posted in Frost (Robert), Miller (Arthur) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Who Is Your Favorite Dickens Character?

Characters from Dickens novels reside so deeply within us as to become virtual lifelong friends.

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High Schoolers and Great Expectations

“Great Expectations” is a perfect novel to teach high school students.

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Dickens Puts Lawyers on Trial

Charles Dickens was especially severe on lawyers, who show up in 11 of his 15 novels.

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Dickens Helped Shape Our Christmas

Charles Dickens helped solidify the idea of Christmas in the minds of 19th century England by his descriptions in “The Pickwick Papers.”

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Gingrich Auditions for a Dickens Villain

Newt Gingrich’s proposal that poor children be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools calls for a Dickensian response.

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Mitt Romney, an American Podsnap

Charles Dickens has a character who resembles Mitt Romney when he states that he believes in American exceptionalism while Barack Obama doesn’t: John Podsnap in “Our Mutual Friend.”

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Novels and Baseball Fans, Fixated on Time

As I watched the amazing day of baseball last Wednesday, I found myself thinking (being the literature nerd that I am) that the English novel was invented to do justice to reality when it got this dramatic and complex.

Also posted in Defoe (Daniel), Fielding (Henry), Sterne (Lawrence) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warren Buffett, Dickensian Philanthropist

Warren Buffett’s op-ed article that the wealthy should pay more taxes is reminding me of Charles Dickens’ benevolent philanthropists, especially Mr. Brownlow in “Oliver Twist.”

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What Fictional Fantasy Means

Having taught British Fantasy Literature for the first time last semester, I need to think back on it before it becomes a distant memory.    By reflecting publicly, I can share some of the insights I gained from the course. Two major things I learned are that (1) fantasy is an oppositional genre—by which I […]

Also posted in Andersen (Hans Christian), Barrie (J. M.), Carroll (Lewis), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Grahame (Kenneth), Grimm Brothers, Haggard (Rider), Keats (John), Kipling (Rudyard), Rossetti (Christina), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet, Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

A Dickensian Response to the Mine Rescue

As I write this, the last of the 33 Chilean miners has just been pulled to safety after spending two months underground in a situation that once seemed hopeless.   It appears that the entire world is celebrating, probably because we are all in need of hope.  Given how we are continually battered by economic […]

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Hard Times in 1854, Hard Times in 2010

I am teaching Charles Dickens’ Hard Times this week and it is disconcerting to see how applicable is still is to modern life. To be sure, one needs to be careful with comparisons. Industrial England in 1854 is not America in 2010. Dickens was writing about a world in which there were no air quality […]

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