Charles Dickens’s Idealized Portraits: Rewriting the child in Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop.

Jack Tan


In Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop, Dickens is preoccupied with representing the key protagonists as neglected and isolated figures. He repeatedly sets them apart from their surroundings, showing them to be too vulnerable and idealized to belong to their real environments. In Dickens’s depictions of these susceptible characters, he is autobiographically evoking his memories of his “not-over-particularly-taken-care-of” childhood self. Yet, in memorializing and valorizing these characters, he bestows upon them a new lease of life within their fictional portraits.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680