Charles Dickens changed the world

Brad Stanton —  December 14, 2012 — 17 Comments

charles-dickensIf I voted for the best writer of English literature, I would vote for Charles Dickens. His writings about orphans enlightened and changed the way people perceived homeless children and brought about great positive change for them. The photo is Dickens as a boy.

Dickens had to quit school and go to work in a factory after his father went to debtors’ prison. He had very little formal education, but he became one of the greatest writers of English literature. He enjoyed more popularity and fame than any writer of his time.

One reason his writing is so good is that he published novels on installments. That means he published a little each week and eventually the writings made up a complete novel (similar to blogging today). He got feedback regularly and changed his writing accordingly.

Many believe his extreme poverty as a child drove him to succeed even though the odds were against him. He had not been trained in writing skills, but apparently learned them as he went. He mailed many transcripts in the dark of night to publishers because of his embarrassment of being constantly rejected. Fortunately for the world, his bulldog determination and faith motivated him to keep trying over and over again even though he failed constantly.

Dickens’ work was read aloud for small sums of money so that illiterate people could enjoy it. The cruel conditions he endured working ten hours a day for little money in a factory as a child no doubt gave him a special appreciation for poor people. Many of his characters and essays were influenced by those difficult years in his life.

Dickens is another example of rags to riches. People who have faith in their abilities and are willing to work very hard seem to end up prospering. But it all starts with belief that the goals and dreams really can be achieved.

Brad Stanton


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17 responses to Charles Dickens changed the world


    I would love to know where you got your evidence from :)


      from Dickens’s tragic – yet incredibly popular – novels evoked a deep sympathy for society’s most vulnerable. Wealthy readers were moved to call for reforms. In 1870, the year that Charles Dickens died, England passed a sweeping reform called the Education Act, which made it possible for all kids to go to school.

      if you google this idea, you will find many sources showing this is true


    I haven’t read a lot of Dickens as I tend to read non-fiction but he’s cropped up a bit lately. I have been researching the Irish Famine through the eyes of my ancestors. This is a broader focus than just my family tree. Anyway, found out that one of my ancestors was one of the Irish Famine Orphans sent out to Australia. She was illiterate as was her soon to be husband. As a well-educated person myself, am a writer, reader it is hard for me to understand what it meant to be an illiterate adult back in the 1850s and keep an open mind. I am now picturing them being read the likes of Dickens. You have added a new string to their bow. Best wishes,


    I have not read anything of Dickens; I have only heard of him, seen some interpretations of his Christmas Carol and read some comments about him…like I am doing now because of this post. I have never asked any questions about his rise as a writer nor that his upbringing was that poor as you have written. As a saying goes; if you know the half, you know what to ask…and now, because of you, I am starting to know the half so I can ask some question about Dickens. I hope you can answer them or maybe direct me to some good sources where I can read the answers.

    First; what gave him hope and dreams? Where did his urge to write stems from? Where did he get his willpower to write from? How did he learn that dreams can be achieved?

    Thank you for a post that made me ask these questions…

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