By Gwen Watkins

Even if the e-book is scholarly in procedure, its undeniable and vigorous sort, its unique theories and its new remedy of Dickens' lady characters guarantees its accessibility and entice the overall reader in addition to to the professional pupil.

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Extra resources for Dickens in Search of Himself: Recurrent Themes and Characters in the Work of Charles Dickens

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This may suggest, if not a reconciliation with the silly charmer whom age through no fault of her own has deprived of charm, at least a lessening of bitterness. Finally, with the figure of Mrs Lirriper, the last of the streamof-consciousness talkers, in the situation of which she is the centre, we have the nearest approach Dickens can make to a reconciliation with his own childhood and with the elements of which it was composed. Mrs Lirriper is 'silly', as Mrs Nickleby and Flora were: that is, her conversational style perpetually running on in a mass of free associations shows her mind to be concerned with an enormous number of trivialities, but at the same time the warmth and helpfulness which find no true outlet in Flora deepen into an undercurrent of steady faithfulness and love which save both Major Jackman and the boy Jemmy.

33 In the June issue of Bentley's Miscellany he referred to her as 'a dear young relative to whom he was most affectionately attached and whose society has been for A Vacancy in my Heart 29 a long time the chief solace of his labours' - which must have made rather painful reading for Catherine, as must his impassioned statements that Mary had been 'the grace and life of our home' and that 'the light and life of our happy circle is gone'. They had after all been married only thirteen months, but it is evident that Catherine had already ceased to be, if indeed he had ever thought her so, the centre of his emotional life.

9 The thoughtlessness, however monumental, which had caused a child to suffer bitterly at last turned to kindness and rescued him. His mother (who must have arranged his Camden Town lodging, since his father had then been in prison for some weeks) now tried to force him back into the factory. But the difference in his attitude towards his parents can only have been brought to a head by these incidents: the attitudes themselves must already have been strongly founded. It is obvious that although both parents made use of him and neglected him, there was some warmth and appreciation of his son in the father, even if only intermittently and even if only appreciation of an object useful or entertaining to himself, that made it possible for Charles to come to terms with the bitterness and pain he must have felt about his father's treatment of him.

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