Charles Dickens Personality (A Complete Guide)

In this article, we will discuss Charles Dickens’s Personality. We will do that by giving a brief overview of who he was and explain his personality traits in the context of his life experiences from childhood to old age.

Charles Dickens Personality 

Charles Dickens can be described as one of the most creative and imaginative writers of his time. He was a hardworking, ambitious, and goal-oriented person who was committed to achieving his goals. He stood up for the rights of the weak and spread awareness about social and economic inequalities in the Victorian era. He had a strict moral code and knew the difference between right and wrong. This is evidenced by his speeches against racial inequalities, copyright laws, and calling out legal injustices. He openly expressed his displeasure for corruption and wrote satirical pieces on Liberals in his time.

Charles’s early childhood influenced his personality as well as his work. Despite a harsh early life, he maintained his sense of humor and wrote books to entertain others. He had great observational skills and sharp attention to detail which is evident in the characters and settings of his stories. He was a philanthropist and helped the poor. He worked for social reforms, contributed to charities, saved a few lives in a train accident, and also contributed to saving a hospital on the verge of a financial crisis.

Brief Overview

Charles Dickens is a famous English writer and social critic of the 19th century. He is famous for his unique novels and characters and acknowledged as one of the greatest novelists of all time. He is considered a literary genius and his work are still widely read even today.

Charles did not have a formal education, yet he worked as a journal editor, article writer, novel writer, short story writer, and lecturer. He also participated in campaigns for social reforms. He is popular for his humor, observation, and satire on societal inequalities. A few of his popular works include David Copperfield, A tale of two cities, A Christmas carol, etc.

Personality from Early Life to Old Age

Early Life

Charles Dickens was born in 1817 as the second child in a family of eight to a poor household. Personality-wise, he was an outgoing person yet enjoyed spending time reading different books. From that, he picked up the habit of observing the characters and noticing people in his surroundings. His sharp attention to detail is apparent in how he writes his books and develops his characters in his novels. He also had an excellent memory of social events and interesting people he met over the years which is depicted in the form of the various characters and settings of his stories.

Charles’s early childhood was not easy since he came from a poor family that was usually in debt. He also moved a lot to different locations due to a lack of financial resources. He described himself as “very small and not-over-particularly-taken-care-of boy”.

 Since he could not get a formal education, he occasionally had to work at a warehouse to earn his way through life when he was on the verge of puberty. These experiences helped him understand the value of hard work from an early age. At the same time, he was exposed to detrimental economic and social conditions.

These experiences may have contributed to his drive to stand up for the rights of others especially those who were weak and unfortunate. He also participated in social causes and economic reforms and spread awareness about child labor, harsh working conditions, and poor work environment through his literary pieces. Furthermore, a lot of his characters were inspired by his early experiences especially people he met at the warehouse.

His mother was against him being removed from the warehouse, which may have influenced his belief that the male figure is the head of the family and the women’s job is to stay at home and look after the family. His own negative feelings towards his mother may have added to his negative attitude towards women.  He was deeply attached to his sister who passed away due to illness. He added her as a character in his books but could not finish her off. He went through a period of grief for quite some time.

His academic life was no different and was marked by poor discipline and a sadistic atmosphere. Apart from that, Charles Dickens lacked direction in life and did not have moral support as he says so himself

“I had no advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no assistance, no support, of any kind, from anyone, that I can call to mind, as I hope to go to heaven!”

He occasionally felt neglected and disappointed due to such harsh experiences even when he grew up to be an adult. He was oversensitive of afraid of being lonely and rejected by others. He also felt insecure and strived for acceptance from others. His unhappy youth and exposure to poor working conditions played a major role in serving as the inspiration behind the books he wrote

Despite such a harsh childhood, he retained his sense of humor which was frequently manifested in his whimsical characters and satirical work. Yet, from such experiences, he learned the art of imitation and distracted himself by going to the theatre to escape from the problems of his life. He also channeled his energy into acting out his stories especially when he went to perform Readings after getting famous later in life.

Young Adulthood

By the age of 20, he developed into an energetic and confident person but felt confused about his identity. This was probably because he lacked guidance. He decided he wanted fame and tried his hand at an acting career but failed. He moved on to writing about topics that were related to politics.

Charles was an ambitious, passionate, and driven person. Throughout his life, he worked towards achieving his goals. He especially wanted to contribute to a revolution as he believed that a life well-lived is only when it is spent serving others. He thought this would give him contentment in his life.  

Professionally, he frequently had fallouts with his publishers over copyright matters. He also engaged in an affair when he was young and decided to run away. This may indicate how he used to act spontaneously in a risky manner.  

 Charles was not afraid of sharing his opinions with others. He occasionally engaged in satire over liberals in his environment. He stood against racial inequality and also gave lectures on copyright laws and piracy. This indicates that he had a clear sense of moral code which he abided by in his life.

 As he grew famous, his own self-perception changed as well. His critic, Kate Flint, writes that he “found himself a cultural commodity, and its circulation had passed out his control’’. This points to the idea that Charles began to see himself as someone who could influence the world. Furthermore, he was against corruption as well and fought for justice. His work also became more serious in nature and carefully planned. This may hint at how he matured over time as a person.

Charles was a philanthropist which is explained by his work on reforming institutions for working women who had experienced a falling out. He also contributed to saving a hospital that was facing a financial crisis and contributed to various charities. He also sympathized with the poor and spread awareness about oppression and social inequalities  

Apart from this, he had a distaste for religion and stated that people should be allowed to live the life they want. He also stated that religion is a contribution to people’s misery. Yet, at the same time, he honored Jesus Christ and wrote about him in his work. This is possibly because he disapproved of extremism and hypocrisy quite openly.

Late Adulthood

Charles was not afraid of going against the norms especially if it was for what he believed in. This is evidenced by him divorcing his wife and marrying an 18-year-old girl when he was 45 years old.  He is also rumored to have other affairs in his life and illegitimate children from them. Yet, the details and authenticity of that are unknown.

He can be described as an ambitious, achievement-oriented, and energetic individual who liked pushing himself physically and mentally. He was driven by energy and emotion which is manifested in his writing.  He was passionate about his work which is exemplified by an incident from his life. If we say that he was a workaholic, it would not be wrong since he was always engaged in some sort of work-related project. It can also be said that he was deeply affected by his poor childhood. So, in a way, he may be trying to overcompensate for it by earning enough so that he never had to go back to the life of poverty.

In the latter part of his life, he was involved in a train accident. He saved a few lives during it. Despite being in a dangerous situation, he went back to retrieve his work. This incident impacted him greatly and he experienced waves of anxiety while traveling by train after it. He died in 1870 and wished to be buried in a non-flashy and simple manner. He was one of the most creative, imaginative, generous, and humble individuals whose written work continues to live on, even today.

FAQs: Charles Dickens Personality

Was Charles Dickens wealthy?

No, initially Charles Dickens lived a life of poverty, especially in his early childhood and adolescence. With age, he grew successful professionally as an author and became wealthy. Yet, he remained humble, generous, and contributed occasionally to charities and people less fortunate than him.

Who did Charles Dickens marry?

Charles Dickens married Catherine Dickens but divorced her when he was 45 years old.

What are Charles Dickens’s most famous books?

Charles Dickens has many famous books. These include A Christmas carl, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, A tale of two cities, etc.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed Charles Dickens Personality. We found that Charles Dickens can be described as one of the most creative and imaginative writers of his time. He was a hardworking, ambitious, and goal-oriented person who was committed to achieving his goals. He stood up for the rights of the weak and spread awareness about social and economic inequalities in the Victorian era. He had a strict moral code and knew the difference between right and wrong. This is evidenced by his speeches against racial inequalities, copyright laws, and calling out on legal injustices. He openly expressed his displeasure for corruption and wrote satirical pieces on Liberals in his time.

Charles’s early childhood influenced his personality as well as his work. Despite a harsh early life, he maintained his sense of humor and wrote books to entertain others. He had great observational skills and sharp attention to detail which is evident in the characters and settings of his stories. He was a philanthropist and helped the poor. He worked for social reforms, contributed to charities, saved a few lives in a train accident, and also contributed to saving a hospital on the verge of a financial crisis.

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊

Citations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Dickens-British-novelist/The-invention-of-the-Christmas-books

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