In my previous post, I choose Michael Ondaatje as a writer who makes me go “Wow!” because of the highly poetic nature of his writing. In this one, I’ll choose one of the greatest of the 19th Century writers – Charles Dickens.
Dickens had nothing like the poetic flair of Ondaatje, but he has an ability to make me go “Wow!” with his tremendous talent for creating indelible characters! He died over 240 years ago as of this writing, and yet those characters live on in our minds. Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser whose heart is redeemed by the Christmas spirit, may be the most well-known of all of them. But there are so, so many others. In fact, there are too many to mention, but here are a few of my favorites:
Uriah Heep – the very embodiment of a creepy, fawning hypocrite in David Copperfield. This guy makes your skin crawl! My favorite character to hate.
The Artful Dodger – in Oliver Twist, he’s the young swaggering bombastic thief who steals your heart along with your money.
Mr. Barkis, the stage coach driver in David Copperfield, whose amusing idea of a marriage proposal is a persistent, “Barkis is willing.”
Miss Havisham – the guardian of Estelle in Great Expectations, she’s a ghastly recluse who had her heart broken years ago by a con man and who’s determined to seek vicarious revenge upon the male sex in the form of the main protagonist, Pip. She’s the very embodiment of insanity wearing an old wedding dress.
Madame DeFarge – in A Tale of Two Cities,, she’s been done a terrible wrong and is implacably bent on revenge. Don’t get in the way of this lady and her sinister knitting!
As I said earlier, there are simply too many Dickens characters to list, which is a tribute to the man’s endless capacity to create enduring portraits unmatched by any writer since. So who’s your favorite?