Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader

Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader

4.11 - 1251 ratings - Source

Charles Dickens once commented that in each of his Christmas stories there is a€œan express text preached on . . . always taken from the lips of Christ.a€ This preaching, Linda M. Lewis contends, does not end with his Christmas stories but extends throughout the body of his work. In Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader, Lewis examines parable and allegory in nine of Dickensa€™s novels as an entry into understanding the complexities of the relationship between Dickens and his reader. Through the combination of rhetorical analysis of religious allegory and cohesive study of various New Testament parables upon which Dickens based the themes of his novels, Lewis provides new interpretations of the allegory in his novels while illuminating Dickensa€™s religious beliefs. Specifically, she alleges that Dickens saw himself as valued friend and moral teacher to lead his a€œdear readera€ to religious truth. Dickensa€™s personal gospel was that behavior is far more important than strict allegiance to any set of beliefs, and it is upon this foundation that we see allegory activated in Dickensa€™s characters. Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop exemplify the Victorian a€œcult of childhooda€ and blend two allegorical texts: Jesusa€™s Good Samaritan parable and John Bunyana€™s ThePilgrima€™s Progress. In Dombey and Son, Dickens chooses Jesusa€™s parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders. In the autobiographical David Copperfield, Dickens engages his reader through an Old Testament myth and a New Testament parable: the expulsion from Eden and the Prodigal Son, respectively. Led by his belief in and desire to preach his social gospel and broad church Christianity, Dickens had no hesitation in manipulating biblical stories and sermons to suit his purposes. Bleak House is Dickensa€™s apocalyptic parable about the Day of Judgment, while Little Dorrit echoes the line a€œForgive us our debts as we forgive our debtorsa€ from the Lorda€™s Prayer, illustrating through his characters that only through grace can all debt be erased. The allegory of the martyred savior is considered in Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities. Dickensa€™s final completed novel, Our Mutual Friend, blends the parable of the Good and Faithful Servant with several versions of the Heir Claimant parable. While some recent scholarship debunks the sincerity of Dickensa€™s religious belief, Lewis clearly demonstrates that Dickensa€™s novels challenge the reader to investigate and develop an understanding of New Testament doctrine. Dickens saw his relationship with his reader as a crucial part of his storytelling, and through his use and manipulation of allegory and parables, he hoped to influence the faith and morality of that reader.whose legs are queer) earns her livelihood by fashioning doll clothes. Upon marriage, the pampered Bella admittedly becomes the doll in her own a€œdolla#39;s housea€ (OMF 663)a€”but she is happily at ... Bella studies the newspaper to understand commodities in the markets and gold in the bank, topics that will make her a worthyanbsp;...

Title:Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader
Author:Linda M. Lewis
Publisher:University of Missouri Press - 2012-01-01


You Must CONTINUE and create a free account to access unlimited downloads & streaming