Majind And yet Little Dorrit is still rewarding, for the long journey, if not for the final stop. Be the first to review this item Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Plornish Rosie Cavaliero as Mrs. Their mother died when Amy was eight years old.
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Start your review of A Pequena Dorrit Write a review Shelves: read-authors-c-d , classics , kindle , charles-dickens , 19th-century-ish Little Dorrit is Charles Dickenss eleventh novel, published in monthly parts between December and June , and illustrated by his favourite artist and friend Hablot Knight Browne, or Phiz.
We tend to give Dickenss novels convenient labels, such as the one criticising the workhouse: Oliver Twist, the one criticising schools: Nicholas Nickleby, the one criticising the legal system: Bleak House, and the one criticising unions: Hard Times. But it is much, much more than that.
By now Dickens had established himself as a literary phenomenon. He was an enormously popular novelist, but he was keen to sustain his literary status as well as entertain the crowds. He lived in Folkestone, Paris, Boulogne and London, as well as travelling for speeches and business. He continued to write, edit, and give public readings, be involved in the lives of his children, and was as enthusiastic about the theatre as ever. He produced and acted in 6 plays and farces during this time, helped by his friend Wilkie Collins, although Dickens was very much the driving force behind them.
And his letters reveal that he was approaching a domestic crisis, and increasingly frustrated with his marriage. He was preoccupied by the idea of freedom in all areas; freedom assumed a greater and greater importance to him, and he was increasingly impatient with the Victorian constraints of his time. Little Dorrit is the novel which comes out of this state of mind. The themes of prisons and being trapped in various ways, both physically and psychologically, permeate throughout the book.
Dickens certainly felt himself trapped, whatever others thought. Of course, the irony was that the only way for those incarcerated to survive there, was by purchasing items to keep themselves fed and clothed.
Getting out was well nigh impossible, as being incarcerated, they could rarely earn any money! It was very much like a village behind bars, and although it was 30 years since his father had been imprisoned there and the prison had been closed down in , Dickens had never returned to look at it.
Only when he came to write Little Dorrit, did Dickens nerve himself to visit the parts of it which were still standing. If there is just one, it would be Arthur Clennam. Dickens may well have decided to name his novel after Amy, since she is one of the very few virtuous unaffected characters, always seeking opportunities for each of her family, and through sheer determination, working towards the best life they can all have. She may be small in stature, but her heart and courage are great indeed.
We also follow the story of Arthur Clennam. She is attended by Flintwinch, a malicious man, twisted in both body and mind, who has wheedled himself into being her business partner, and forced the family servant, Affery, to marry him. These three form a unholy trio. The scenes set here have a gothic unearthly quality, and Affery, with her terrified nonsensical babbling, comes across as some kind of wise seer. There is hatred and malevolence here; a deep-seated resentment, but we are not privy to its cause, and neither is Arthur.
There are myriad minor characters who make this novel sparkle, although it is a sinister sparkle, perhaps as in sparkly vampires. There is the avaricious Casby, with his flowing white hair and twinkly eyes, with a semblance of benevolence shining out of his bald head. Maria, like Flora, was pretty and flirtatious, and the daughter of a highly successful banker similar enough to a property-owner. Dickens found her talkativeness especially irritating, and quickly attempted to extricate himself from all but the most essential social contact with her — and always strictly in public.
Perhaps an old affection did temper his pen, however. Although it seems a cruel, heartless portrait initially, Flora reveals herself to have a heart of gold, and hidden perceptiveness, as the novel proceeds. The silent ones are often more shadowy. It was deposited on every lip, and carried into every ear. There never was, there never had been, there never again should be, such a man as Mr Merdle.
Nobody, as aforesaid, knew what he had done; but everybody knew him to be the greatest that had appeared. John Sadleir had resigned his ministerial position, when he was found guilty of being implicated in a plot to imprison a depositor of the Tipperary Bank, because the individual in question had refused to vote for him.
John Sadleir had ended his life by drinking prussic acid. She values her own status, money and etiquette above all else. She grows greatly in character, but initially has understandable feelings of resentment. She was a foundling, who has ostensibly been adopted by the Meagles. We have a veritable panoply of characters then, full of energy and life, spilling from the pages, as always in a novel by Dickens — and there are many more I have not mentioned. And the dastardly villain of the piece?
For this novel does not start out in the dank gloom of the Marshalsea, but in an oppressive hellhole of a prison in the blistering heat of the South of France.
Mysteries abound in this novel. There is truth, but mostly there are lies, and secrets. There is the collapse of an institution, both metaphorically and in a very dramatic literal scene.
It is doom-laden, with delusions and dreams; mysterious creaking sounds are seen to be prophetic. There is a suicide — and a murder — and animal cruelty. In the second part, there is restitution of a sort, and there is punishment.
Debts are paid. Poverty is transformed into riches, and those who were kind to each other when they were poor, become more spiteful or selfish, considering such earlier behaviour to be humiliating. Starting in Marseilles, the action removes to London and then Venice — a crumbling, decaying edifice, reflected in the degeneration of the characters within it. In Little Dorrit any prosperity is almost a guarantee that the wealth will be put to bad use.
Even that decidedly decent fellow Daniel Doyce, intelligent and kind, the inventor of an unspecified mechanical wonder, is unable to get a patent for it in the Circumlocution Office, and we fear for his future. Nothing in Little Dorrit is what it appears to be.
Almost all the characters are self-seeking, and the message of the novel is a very bleak one indeed. It has a far wider purview — Dickens here attacks the whole of British society.
The novel Little Dorrit does not merely indicate a dark view of human nature, but is a savage indictment of the corruption at the heart of British institutions, and the effects of British economic and social structure upon every single individual.
Dickens shows with this embittered novel that he believes British society to be rotten to the core, and riddled with deceit. This is another metaphor for that great destroyer of originality, the Circumlocution office. Together with the Stiltstalkings, the Barnacles infest both government and society, going around in circles, spewing red tape, and accomplishing nothing.
They ensure that no business which might promote the common good is ever done, crushing both originality and initiative, and rendering all relationships false. Dickens was well placed to comment on the Civil Service, and his view was savage, waspish — and also very witty.
The extraordinary achievement of Little Dorrit is that such a devastating and dour indictment of British society and institutions can be so very readable, so topical, yet at the same time so current, in its description of the never-ending wheels grinding on in the Civil Service — and to contain such delightful characters.
And now I can see the final scene in the book open up before my eyes. Went down into a modest life of usefulness and happiness If you approach the altar and look up at the left panel of the magnificent stained glass window behind it, you will see the figure of St George, see that his foot is resting on a piece of parchment.
Directly beneath this is a much smaller, kneeling figure of a girl, whose hands are clasped in prayer, and whose poke-bonnet is dangling from her back. We have that here, but we also have a deep sense of doom, or foreboding. Their destinies lie heavily shrouded in the ether; the fug of the city.
A Pequena Dorrit
A Pequena Dorrit – Charles Dickens