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Great Expectations is one of Dickens' later works and considered one of his best. It is notable for it's more naturalistic depiction of characters; here motivations and personal viewpoints form the heart of the narrative. The story follows the arc of a young orphan's life as he first tries to raise himself to a higher station in life and finally discovers the solution to some mysteries and comes to terms with himself.
The writings of Charles Dickens were often critical of society and government. This satire, Little Dorrit was also an outlet for Dickens' opinion of prison, particularly debtor's prisons. There people (including Dickens' own) who failed to pay their debts were imprisoned, paradoxically unable to work, until the debt was repaid. The story of Little Dorrit (whose father is imprisoned for debt) tells of the courtship between herself and Arthur Clennam and demonstrates the grim effects of imprisonment on those within as well as those beyond but whose lives are inextricably intertwined.
An idealistic young man, the title character of Nicholas Nickleby is left to find work and to support and protect his mother and sister after his father's death leaves them penniless. After his cold-hearted Uncle Ralph turns down his pleas for help, Nicholas Nickleby is left to find his own way, opening him up to all manner of queer folk, rogues and scoundrels. Dickens shows himself not only to be a literary genius but a comic one as well.
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