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Charles dickens - Essay Example

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Commentary: “The Old Curiosity Shop.” This passage from Chapter IX of Charles Dickens’ “The Old Curiosity Shop” is a typical example of the great author’s writing. It features the three main characters of the story: the grandfather, Little Nell and Daniel Quilp…
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Download file to see previous pages Dickens’ uses the setting communicate Nell’s emotions to the reader. Nell’s mood is reflected by the streets and rooftops of London. As Nell keeps her anxious vigil, the window serves as Nell’s peephole into the life of the outside world. The lonely child has no lively companions of her own age and no parents. She spends most of her time waiting for her grandfather’s return form his trips outside the shop. As she gazes on the windows of the houses facing her, she wonders about the lives which go on in those rooms. Nell projects her loneliness on to the setting and wonders “whether those rooms were as lonesome as that in which she sat.” Her loneliness is further emphasized by her perception that the people living in those rooms do not want her company, as she sees “them look out and draw in their heads again.” She interprets their failure to communicate with her as a sign of their rejection. In spite of this rejection, the street is Nell’s only glimpse of life and she is sorry when night falls and her tableaux of the world comes to an end. She is forced to return to the “dull” room, in which “everything was in its place and hadn't moved.” Here again, the room’s setting is used by Dickens to communicate the unchanging routine and boredom of the little girl’s days. ...
As Nell looks at the “crooked stack of chimneys on one of the roofs,” she sees in her imagination the “ugly faces that were frowning over at her and trying to peer into the room.” This is an example of Dickens’ powerful imagery in his settings. The image of the ugly faces staring disapprovingly at Nell is a metaphor for the threat of bankruptcy and evil hovering over her life in the guise of Daniel Quilp. Dickens also uses the sombre setting to convey to the reader his characteristic criticism of the poor living quarters and the squalid environment of London. In this context, the evil-looking chimney stacks may be seen as a metaphor for the smoke-spewing monster of industrialization. Dickens’ attitude is reflected in Nell’s plea to her grandfather to exchange life in London with a life in the country where they can “walk through country places, and sleep in fields and under trees” and “work in open roads or fields.” The dark and gloomy streets of London outside Nell’s window symbolize the dark side of city life. Dickens’ setting in this passage connects to the next chapter in the novel. In the shadows of the street below, Kit lingers, standing guard over his precious Nell. His attention is totally focused on her window. As Nell keeps anxious vigil at her window, Kit keep his own vigil over her. Nell “is sitting alone at that window,” while Kit remains “watching in the open street for fear any harm should come to her” (Dickens, Chapter 10). This is a very poignant depiction of Kit’s love for Nell. Dickens cleverly links his setting in this passage in Chapter 9 with the following chapter to move ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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