An amazing person

He grew up poor–dirt poor! And as a result, he had very little education.
Yet he became a successful freelance writer while still in his teens and published his first book at age 24.
From personal experience, he understood the pain of poverty and servitude. So he went on to write classic novels about social injustice.
Always ahead of his time, he was a voice against slavery before U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. And he saw the dangers of today’s “social media” two centuries before it existed.
Biographers praise his insight and his writing. They also often comment on his “Dickensian childhood.”
And they are right because this amazing person was Charles Dickens!
Born in 1812, he was the second of eight children–the son of a nice but spendthrift father. As a result of his ways, John Dickens was put in debtors’ prison when Charles was 12 years old.
That was the end of the young boy’s happy childhood. He was forced to leave school and work to help support the family.
Before child labour laws were in place, Charles worked 10 hours a day in a rat-infested, dilapidated boot-blacking factory. There, he met other misfortunate boys who were in the same predicament.
Charles was very disillusioned by this early experience and it coloured his life and writing forever.
As an adult, Dickens lamented how he “could be so easily cast away at such a young age.”
Happily, his father’s imprisonment was cut short when he received a family inheritance and paid his debts. So Charles was able to attend school again.
But by the time Charles was 15, his father’s visions of grandeur once again led to financial trouble. And once again, the budding scholar had to quit school–this time for good.
Fortunately, at age 15, Charles was able to get a much better job as an office boy–a job that paved the way to his later success.
Charles took every opportunity to use his natural writing skills. He soon was selling freelance articles and eventually became the parliamentary journalist for major London newspapers.
Then, in his early 20s, he began writing magazine sketches under the pseudonym of “Boz.” In 1836, when Dickens was 24, these sketches were collected in a book.
Obviously, Dickens’ most important works were his classic novels–“David Copperfield,” “Great Expectations,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Oliver Twist,” and many others, including the one he was working on when he died in 1870.
But Dickens was prolific and wrote much more than novels, including travel books, an autobiography, and plays.
BBC has called Dickens the “quintessential Victorian author.” And, like most classic writing, his work still is applicable today.
A century-and-a-half before Facebook, texting, and e-mail, Dickens saw the dangers inherent in the budding technology of the 19th century. Listen to this quote:
“Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.”
What an amazing person!

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