Little Dorrit  

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I decided to write this post after reading this one, but it took me a while to get to actually writing it.

Charles Dickens quickly became one of my favorite authors as I became interested in classic literature in elementary school. Whenever I went to the library, making a beeline for the assignments section, I would search for an interesting book I had not yet read. Honestly, I could stand there for an hour looking through different classic works, but if I did not have a lot of time in which to choose a book, I would just go with Charles Dickens, because I knew that his works were something I could always rely on to be interesting and profound. It is a good thing that he published so many books and most of them are quite long, because I still have not read all his works, so I have what to look forward to.

I find that his masterpieces contain a wide variety of interesting, deep characters, as well as thought-provoking ideas and statements. Sometimes, he can aptly sum up in one sentence a whole range of thoughts and emotions, and I often find myself stopping for as long as fifteen minutes just to digest and contemplate one thing he wrote. If I had somebody to discuss it with, each of those pauses would probably turn into a half-hour conversation.

I read Little Dorrit last year, and I bookmarked a few pages with lines that I particularly appreciated. So right now, I want to make a few observations about the book, talk about some quotes and the author's brilliance.

His method of portraying Mr. Dorrit’s character is both clever and amusing. Without explicitly stating that Mr. Dorrit becomes a pompous fool after he gets rich, Charles Dickens makes it quite clear to the readers that such is the case. He infuses an occasional “ha” or “hum” into Mr. Dorrit’s speech, which somehow tells the readers all they need to know and makes Mr. Dorrit seem somewhat ridiculous. Some people, we see, let their financial status get to their heads a bit too much.


Another thing I found fascinating was the letter Amy Dorrit wrote to Arthur Clennam during her travels. It was forcibly reminded of my ramblings in my journal. Amy wrote in the letter everything that happened to her, and she wrote paragraphs explaining her feelings. She filled up many pages in an attempt to fully describe her thoughts, emotions, and the reasons behind them. What particularly struck me was the fact that she was writing this to him. To me, it seems like something one would prefer to keep private, not something that should be fully explained with every detail in a letter -- especially since their relationship seemed somewhat uncertain and hazy. I suppose it shows what a trusting girl she was.

I wish Arthur could have examined Amy's letters with an open mind. To an outsider like me, it is plain as daylight that Amy loves Arthur and holds dear to her heart whatever he holds dear to his. It is strange that Arthur does not realize this, and if I was in their world—once I finished laughing at him—I would feel compelled to enlighten him.

“He had the power… of explaining what he himself perceived, and meant, with the direct force and distinctness with which it struck his own mind.”

That quote describes exactly how I wish my writing to be. I want to have that ability to write down my precise thoughts and emotions in a way that would enable my reader to understand and connect to it. And I must say -- I just loved that sentence.

Here are a few more quotes I appreciated:

* “New zig-zags sprung into the cruel pattern sometimes, when she saw it through a burst of tears.” I thought it was a rather brilliant way of describing crying.

* “Between the real landscape and its shadow in the water, there was no division; both were so untroubled and clear, and, while so fraught with solemn mystery of life and death, so hopefully reassuring to the gazer’s soothed heart, because so tenderly and mercifully beautiful.” Perhaps this explains our fascination with nature?

* “They came out of the avenue next moment, arm-in-arm as they had entered it: and the trees seemed to close up behind them in the darkness, like their own perspective of the past.” I found this sentence very beautiful. This was one of those things I had to pause for, just to let the idea and the brilliance of it sink in. I love when one sentence can so perfectly sum up an idea. Charles Dickens had that talent of packing so much significance into a single sentence, and that is one of the things I love about his writing. The same goes for the next quote.

* “While the flowers, pale and unreal in the moonlight, floated away upon the river; and thus do greater things that once were in our breasts, and near our hearts, flow from us to the eternal seas.”

* “He seemed to have an insatiate delight in appealing to her and looking at her; excitedly sticking his hair up and the same moment, like a dark species of cockatoo.” This kind of reminds me of my Pigeons and Shidduchim post.

* “…The waters of Venice and the ruins of Rome… were daily being sketched out of all earthly proportion, lineament, and likeness, by traveling pencils innumerable….”

I don't want to go on for hours (although I can), so I will stop here. I do recommend this book though -- as well as all other books by Charles Dickens -- to all of my readers.

Coming soon -- a post about another favorite of mine, Edgar Allan Poe!

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at Thursday, July 02, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

3 comments

I'm honored that a post of mine inspired your post...

"I want to have that ability to write down my precise thoughts and emotions.."- I hate to, um, bring up Star Trek, ..but in Star Trek(!) DS9 there's a species of shape-shifters who insist that words are far too blunt a tool to use for communication (especially the written word. ..they communicate, after becoming part of one liquid-mass, by telepathy I guess..

July 2, 2009 at 7:15 PM

I used to love reading Dickens. I read several of his novels, but got turned off by Nicholas Nickleby, if the memory serves me correctly. I no longer could relate to characters. But I still remember David Copperfield very fondly, the book of course.

July 2, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Shlomo -- Star Trek?! It's an interesting idea though.... It made me think.... On one hand, the girl in me says that emotions are complex and wonderful and should be FELT internally, while the writer part of me says that everything should be somehow put into words or it is lost. As a writer, I adore words. It is my favorite means of expression.

SubWife -- Nicholas Nickleby is actually one of the novels I have not yet read.

July 2, 2009 at 11:31 PM

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