Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth.
Finances were a constant concern for his family. The expenses of having a large family were too much for his father’s salary.
Charles’ education was unplanned, but he supplemented it with constant reading, particularly of the eighteenth-century novels in his father’s small library.
He was poorly clothed, ill-fed, forced to live in the cheapest place.
At age 12, Charles was removed from school and sent to work at a factory to help support the family.
Charles was deeply marked by these experiences.
This childhood poverty, although unknown to his readers until after his death, would be a heavy influence on Dickens’ later views on social reform and the world he would create through his fiction.
He knew those kinds of feelings. He was lost at that time when he worked hopelessly in the factory. That period was so bitter to the sensitive boy.
Luckily the situation improved within a year. Charles was released from his duties at the factory.
He worked for a time as a junior clerk in a lawyer’s office. After that, he worked as a reporter in the law courts, and later in parliament, for London newspapers.
His career as a writer of fiction began in 1833 with short stories and essays in periodicals, and in 1837 his comic novel The Pickwick Papers made him the most popular author at his time in England.
He was an acute observer of people and their places because he was attracted by life and conditions in the mid-nineteenth century London.
He wrote 19 novels all his life and in many of them, Dickens gave a realistic picture of all classes of England society, showing deep sympathy for the poor and unfortunate, exposing the injustice and inhumanity of the bourgeoisie.
Many of his novels, like Olive Twist, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, drew attention to the unsatisfactory social conditions that existed in England over 100 years ago.
Dickens criticized capitalist society and he wished to see improvement in the living conditions of the poor. However, he failed to find any effective means to achieve that end.