A Random, Opinionated and Incomplete List of Dickens Characters

In my early twenties, I went through a phase where I thought Charles Dickens was the only author worth reading. I admired his work greatly for its humor, insight and, yes, even its redundancy. He knew how to write a novel that was like real life - incomplete, heartbreaking and funny. Yes, I had read Charles Dickens before my early twenties, but I had not delved into David Copperfield, which would become one of my favorite novels.

I read a biography of Charles Dickens at the height of my Dickensian fervor. It robbed me of my hero worship because he really was just another man. A man with flaws and way of treating women both worshipfully and with disregard. I still love his work, though and the following characters. These characters come immediately to my mind when I think of Dickens. I will restrict this list to just those few because they are the few that I think my readers (yes, I have a scant few readers) will appreciate. Find them in a dusty old library and hang out with them when you get the chance.

David Copperfield

David Copperfield appears in the novel of the same name. The novel starts with his birth. It then follows him through a life that aspires beyond its means. Copperfield's life is fraught with difficulty -- brought on by the cruelty of others, bad luck and his own poor choices. What is best about David as a character is how he interacts with other characters, many of whom are either pitiably loony, unerringly sweet or the epitome of cruel. David draws together this motley crew and, through Dickens' skill, forms a life of bonds that spread out further and further throughout the novel. The novel ends, not with David's death, but with his life finally coming together.

Philip Pirrip or "Pip"

Pip appears in what most people would consider the greatest Dickens novel - Great Expectations. Pip is the main character whose admirable honesty, faithfulness and ability to love bring him to both ruin and prosperity. He is a quite kicked around character. One cannot help but feel terribly sorry for Pip and I could not help but love him, as much as one can love a figment of another's imagination, which turns out to be a great deal. (If you scoffed just then, you have never read a good book.) In turn, I hated his love interest -- Estella Havisham -- for treating him like a flea-ridden lap dog. However, Pip is also selfish at times. I suppose the draw is that he was quite single-minded in his devotion to a girl. That is something every girl loves in a male character.

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist appears in the novel of the same name, like David Copperfield. The character Oliver Twist is representative of all the children who suffered in workhouses in the 1800's. The character and novel are huge successes, even to this day. Why are they successful? Well, I cannot speak for the masses, but it is hard for me not to love fictionally factual novels, which is exactly what Oliver Twist was and I had watched the movie before I read the book, so there was an adorable, yet very unlucky, orphan in my mind the whole time. Who can resist?

Ebenezer Scrooge

Before you ask, yes, I realize that the characters that come to mind for me are also popular Dickens characters from movies, cartoons, plays, yada, yada. If you have not done so yet, read the books these people appear in, A Christmas Carol, in Scrooge's case. I like Scrooge because he is realistic for a Dickens' character. He is not overly sweet or overly evil. He is not unbelievably naive, or almost funny in his simplicity. He is both sides of the coin. Refreshing if you have been reading too much Dickens.

Well, that is all I have for now. As I write, more pop into my mind and I realize I need to include some Pickwick people, some Bleak inhabitants and some Curious shoppers. If you come back for more, I will be sure there are more waiting for you.

Shelly Barclay

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