I've always felt rather eccentric given the stories going on in my head and my unusual perspective of things going on around me. Even among other writers I always felt a little weird. Then I began studying the life of Charles Dickens and felt strangely validated as a writer. Through studying his life and his works, I have learned many amazing things that are thought-provoking and worthy of noting. He was and is a truly amazing man! I hope you enjoy this journey of discovery with me. ~Anita

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Champion of the People

In our day there’s hardly a person who doesn’t know the name Charles Dickens. He’s best known, of course, for writing the powerful classic “A Christmas Carol.” And his other most famous works include “Oliver Twist,” and “A Tale of Two Cities.” Many lines from his work have become commonly quoted as clichés. Who can’t relate to the well-known words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times?” But what most people don’t realize is that Dickens didn’t just write about social injustice and the plight of the poor, he was very devoted to actively doing something about it. This is something that will surely come up more in my future writings on the inimitable Mr. Dickens, but there’s a particular thought I want to share with you now.

In the book “Dickens” by Peter Ackroyd, in talking about his burial in London, he writes, “His grave at Westminster Abbey was left open for two days. At the end of the first day, there were still one thousand people outside waiting to pay their respects. So for those two days the crowds of people passed by in procession, many of them dropping flowers onto his coffin - ‘among which,’ his son said, ‘were afterwards found several small rough bouquets of flowers tied up with pieces of rag.’ There in the ragged bundles of flowers, no doubt picked from the hedgerows and fields, we see the source and emblem of Charles Dickens’s authority. Even to the labouring men and women there was in his death a grievous sense of loss; they felt that he had in large measure understood them and that, in his death, they had also lost something of themselves.”

I continue to feel deeply touched by this story. When we pass from this world, who do we want to be remembered by, and what do we want to be remembered for? Dickens himself stated that his writings would tell who he was; people didn’t need to know anything more (or words to that effect). That may be partly true, but it is important to know that he stood for what he wrote and he wrote about what he stood for. As a writer, I hope to endeavor to do just a little bit of the same.


Rhonda Miller said...

It's so great that he not only wrote about these things, but acted on them. I can see why the people would want to pay their last respects. Thanks for sharing this.

Christine said...

As I am discovering you Anita...I feel I am growing in a friendship of meeting a new person that you find has a heart much like your own. Thank you for your insights on Dickens. I look forward to reading more. With the heart of a writer, I hope I have the courage some day to do something about it. But regardless of whether I do or not...I hope I will always live with the love I have for people and continue to strive to reach them. You do that powerfully in your writing...and everyone I talk to expresses how deeply your words (and your conviction) touch them. Thank you!

Lisa said...

I want to be known in this life and after I leave, that I truly 100% cared about people and strived to help them feel LOVED. Everybody needs a friend. Everybody needs to feel loved.
Dickens sounds like a great great man and I am anxious to learn more about him (because sadly, I don't know too much).
Anita, I seriously just love you for all the GOOD that you have done for me, and so many others. I have a testimony (really!) that your work is divine and that you are lead by angels. Your work has helped me understand that Atonement a little better and and the healing process. You make a difference!!