How Charles Dickens Childhood Affected his Writing Throughout his Life It is said that what you learn and experience in your childhood will reflect upon your attitude and actions in the future. Charles Dickens who is one of the most popular writers in the history of literature, reflected his childhood and his upbringing in most of the works that he wrote. He spent most of his childhood in London and Kent both of which appear frequently in his novels. In 1824, being only twelve years old, he was forced to work in a shoe polish factory. This was a big change for him after living an upper middle class life all his life.
This is one of the experiences that he hated the most, in fact, it haunted him throughout his life having a sence of humiliation and abandonment. He describes similar experiences to those that plagued his mind in his novel, David Copperfield which was the story of a boy that missed out on his childhood in exchange for hard labor and plenty of responsibilities. In Dickens Great Expectations, he gives us a sence of his presence as Pip, portraying an image of his younger self. In this novel, he explores the sence of guilt and shame that had haunted him his entire life, as he rose from humble beginnings to success, wealth and fame. He was giving his novels life by filling them with real emotions that he had carried throughout his young and part of his adult life. The later novels he wrote went from the comic tales based one one central character into works of great insight, relevance and seriousness.
In most cases anyway, he portrayed part of himself into the characters that filled his popular novels. He performed many lectures, including one in the United States in 1842 in opposition to slavery which clearly shows that even though he was wealthy by then and didn t really need to do all this, he still recollected his childhood experiences an felt bad for people that were taken advantage of like he was. Other older readers of Dickens works usually liked them because of their humor and sympathy while the critics of today tend to rank more highly the later works because of their sharp perception of the human state of being. Among his finest works are Great Expectations (1860-1861) and A Tale of Two Cities just to name a couple.
These novels show the non-comedy type of topics he used as he got older. As his stories tell of tragedies, his family was falling appart perhaps because of his upbringing where he did not have financial support from his parents and had to go through the most humiliating and lonely time of his life when he needed support the most. Charles Dickens went through hard times as a young man and this reflected upon most if not all of his works. His novels and plays matured as he matured from funny comedy to sometimes depressing drama. As the horrible memories of his past tormented him and constantly depressed him throughout his life, his family life came appart leaving him acting out the part to some of his novels.