The Life of Charles Dickens

From a very early age, Charles Dickens knew he wanted to be a gentleman. Unfortunately, the odds weren’t in his favor.

Sketch of Charles Dickens in 1842

Sketch of Charles Dickens in 1842 (Small image on the bottom left is his sister, Fanny)

His family was constantly on the edge of financial and social disaster. However, they did have some limited funds put aside to send one of their children to a university or academy. Mr. and Mrs. John Dickens considered the talents and qualifications of all their children. They wanted to use the money earmarked for education where it would do the most good. It was as if they were placing all their bets on one child.

Charles was not that child.

His parents chose to send their daughter, Fanny, to school. She had a talent for music and was sent to an academy. Not long after that Charles was sent to work at the blacking factory.

It seemed as if everything was against him. However he had talent, and more importantly, he had desire, drive and a strong belief in himself. He worked hard to make his dream life into a reality.

Gads Hill Place

Gad’s Hill Place – When Dickens was young he was told that if he “were to be very persevering and work very hard” he might one day live in this beautiful house.. He did! Dickens bought the house in 1856.

Charles Dickens wasn’t perfect. He was stubborn and sometimes quick-tempered. He often blamed others for the problems that he himself caused. The force of will that enabled him to succeed prevented him from taking an honest look at his own life.

While he was unable to learn from the lessons of his own life perhaps we, his readers, can be more fortunate. A study of his life reveals that perfection is not a qualification for success and that no one really defines us but ourselves.

The complete works of Charles Dickens