preview

Charles Dickens Happiness

Decent Essays
Charles Dickens once said: “Happiness is a gift and the trick is to not expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” Within his novels and movies, Dicken makes his advice come true. Dickens wrote many pieces based on the Victorian Era. The Victorian Era is a period of Queen Victoria’s reign in Britain. This era is made up of great prosperity and peace, as well as change. There are many distant characteristics that make up the Victorian Era: some of which are marriage and family values, education, and class distinction. With remembrance of the quote above--through many of these characteristics, happiness was not a factor until it slapped the characters in the face. Eventually, they delighted in the happiness that they were given. Within Charles…show more content…
Typically, the husband did the working, the wife did the household chores, and the kids went to school. Once the children were old enough to work, they would start working. The parents tended to look down upon their children. Children could never meet up to the high expectations of their parents. For example, in Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations, one of Pip’s family members yelled during Christmas dinner: “Why is it that the young are never grateful.” Pip did nothing wrong to deserve this nasty comment; however, the elders just expect much more from him. Similarly, in Hard Times, Mrs. Gradgrind continuously snarls at her children, Louisa and Tom, for foolish reasons. After Louisa and Tom were caught innocently watching a circus, their mother told them, “I declare you’re enough to make one regret ever having a family at all” (13). Mrs. Gradgrind told her children that she regrets having them all because they were curious about a circus. Children during the Victorian Era were constantly nagged at by their parents. Furthermore, many people decided to marry during this time primarily to marry into status and money. Love was generally not a factor when it came to marriage during this time period. Louisa, in Hard Times, made this clear when saying to her father, “I knew, and, father, you knew, and he knew, that I never did [love him]. I was not wholly indifferent for I had a hope of being pleasant and useful…show more content…
In Dicken’s Great Expectations, Pip knew how to read and write; however, his guardian, Joe, did not. This was shown when Pip tried to teach Joe how to read while sitting near a river. He would write on a chalk board and help Joe to try to sound out the words. Also, these schools were creativity-free zones. Even the windows were placed high on the walls so that the children could not look out of them! In Hard Times, Mr. Gradgrind created a school. His main goal was to base the school primarily on facts. Creativity and wondering were never allowed. The novel opens with Mr. Gradgrind’s words: “NOW, WHAT I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts” (1). Many children are in this school and they are taught based upon absolutely nothing but facts. With this in mind, creativity and wondering are limited, resulting in the lack of knowing how to deal with feelings. Louisa drastically portrays the terrible effect of this teaching, She cries to her dad saying, “I do not know that I am sorry, I do not know that I am ashamed, I do not know that I am degraded in my own esteem. All that I know is, your philosophy and your teaching will not save me” (164). She also says “What I have learned has left me doubting, misbelieving, despising, regretting, what I have not learned” (162). Because Louisa was taught a philosophy of fact and fact only, she does not know emotion.
Get Access