Dickens’ parents were well off and educated and hailed from middle-class backgrounds, and in the beginning he enjoyed a good standard of living. He too was well educated, well read and enjoyed music and acting. He was an abrupt, excitable, impatient young man driven to succeed. But he would always be distressed by the humiliation he experienced as a young child, at the hands of his frivolous parents.
His parents were put into the debtor’s prison and he was sent out to work in a factory labelling and potting jars of shoe polish. For him this was utter degradation. What made it worse was no matter how poor they were his sister’s piano lessons were always paid for. In time Charles moved into scant lodging and learnt to manage and fend for himself. His friends Green and Fagin looked out for him in those back-street days of misery. When he was very young he had gone to a private school wore a posh uniform and was teased by local boys, but now – here he was among the poorest – like those who jeered at him and bullied him.
His experience of such injustice fuelled his desire to succeed. The young Dickens had become self-aware, and observed his own circumstances: such experiences and events, such memories and hurt created the writer Charles Dickens.
This book looks at his life under a magnifying glass concentrating on the ‘domestic’ side of his life, focusing on his time in the Westcountry.