Chapter 33 of “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Dickens Essay (Critical Writing)
The prose of Charles Dickens is a tremendous phenomenon for the reader of the 21st century. This phenomenon consists of the simply about full absence of sexuality in his quite a few novels. This deficiency was seamless and was not a mirrored image of the English custom strictness of the Victorian epoch. It is tough to imagine that Dickens is contemporary for French writers, such as Mopasan, whose prose seems to be full of eroticism. It is just as tough to imagine Dickens as one of many continuators of Geoffrey Chaucer, who did not hesitate to painting physique. Maybe, the asexuality of Dickens is explained by a hungry childhood; nevertheless, it is subsequent to impossible that Dickens deliberately limited the thematic of his prose by the suffering of hungry boys in orphan homes. With the end of the Victorian interval, the sexuality of the English society that didn’t find its reflection within the cultural phenomenon was striving to express itself in graphic art (Beardsley) and at the beginning of the 20th century in literature – “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence, although the tabooed theme didn’t obtain adequate expression in literature also as a outcome of such well-known writers of the previous epoch as Charles Dickens averted eroticism for some inside reasons. It seems that Dickens felt more comfortable within a male company. His first novel, “The Pickwick Papers,” already demonstrated a clear preference for a male meeting, the tradition of gents clubs that was dominating in Victorian Britain. The matrimonial outcome appears extra like a facet of decency somewhat than a mirrored image of the author’s preferment. A sure revealing of this unexpected side of Dickens could probably be thought of chapter 33 of the “Old Curiosity Shop.” In this chapter, the writer rudely mocks the body of a girl. Unlike his coeval Honore de Balzac, who created a intercourse image – a thirty-year-old woman, after which the ladies after 30 started to be called Balzac women, Dickens describes a disgusting man-like quarrelsome creature, that doesn’t have eyebrows, his mustache, and who lives her life with clear pleasure in a pungent soiled room, rewriting courtroom papers. This is Ms. Sally Brass. Unlike the brass-red heroines from “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” this lady appears to be incompatible with the definition of intercourse and body. In her description, Dickens doesn’t provide any sort of humoristic features that the creator uses when describing men which have bodily disadvantages. The machine for rewriting papers formally finds literature related to one of Nicolay Gogol’s characters from his novel known as “Overcoat” – Akaky Bashmachkin. But in contrast to Gogol, Dickens did not award his character the power to make the reader really feel compassion one bit. It seems that Dickens can induce compassion only in the direction of hungry orphan boys, like “Oliver Twist” or “The Hunted.” This fact will most likely elicit suspicion in the sophisticated reader of the 21st century. A few strains within the 33rd chapter of the “Old Curiosity Shop” are in harsh dissonance with the literature of the Victorian epoch. These lines inform about Dick’s impressions after gazing at Ms. Sally. Within this part of the text, the trendy reader can find something that today is called a deviation of sexual habits. The male character here is clearly striving in course of detestability. He can’t make himself turn away from observing an unpleasant, repelling girl. Such aspiration for remark of disgusting is well-known in attractive pathology. Furthermore, this character of Dickens is experiencing obsessive needs. He intolerably desires to tear off the woman’s hat to be able to see whether or not she looks good bare-headed. Subliming this desire, he swings a steel ruler, imagining that he has an Indian tomahawk in his hand. Optionally one may discover a relation to Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov if “The Crime and Punishment” can be already written back then. In common, this small fragment jogs my memory extra of prose from the start and middle part of the 20th century. Such inner exertion of a personality in the course of the uprising of such uncommon desires is extra more probably to be encountered in Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Borgen, quite than in Charles Dickens, who is well known to be a author for child and family studying. Kelly Hager is fairly tracing the above-mentioned anomaly of the Victorian style in her article entitled “Jasper Packlemerton, Victorian Freak.” The fashionable researchers of Dickens within the context of the Victorian epoch, in my view, did not turn sufficient consideration to this fragment. Kelly Hager uses chapter 33 of the “Old Curiosity Shop” plainly for mentioning the non-interesting dialogues between Sally Brass and Sampson. I consider that, right here, Dickens unintentionally demonstrated some darkish sides of his persona. At least in this fragment, the common to the writer sense of humor betrays him. His strained attempts to joke about Sally’s mess and her unmarried status call up doubts about this part being written by the identical author who previously wrote “The Pickwick Papers.” Here it is evident that some biological intrusion of female anima into Dickens’ private life led to the lack of literature’s high quality.
While exploring the theme of voyeurism, William Cohen is addressing sex and physique. He sees the aforesaid deviation as a probable sublimation of Dickens’ eroticism. Indeed, the “Old Curiosity Shop” starts off with the confessions of the narrator about his unusual night walks, during which he narrowly looks into the faces of the pedestrians for lengthy intervals of time and makes guesses about their occupations. Chapter 33 of the “Old Curiosity Shop” begins off from an imaginary flight of the storyteller, bringing the reader into the house of Mr. Brass. However, it’s quite difficult to account for the above as “voyeurism,” as usual, the individuals who’re inclined towards this deviation strive to see something tempting, not out there for regular remark, whereas the described in chapter 33 tacky house of Mr. Brass rouses no temptation, and just strengthens the disgust in the direction of Ms. Sally Brass, her bony stature, and pink her nose. There aren’t any libidinous descriptions of mattress scenes that could be used responsible the creator in voyeurism – the attempt in the path of spying on unfamiliar life. Chapter 33 of the “Old Curiosity Shop” offers causes to suppose that sexuality, sex, eroticism – the themes tabooed in the Victorian society, at least in their most typical model, in reality, were not attention-grabbing to the creator, and he sincerely didn’t intend to fascinate his readers with these subjects. The reason for this phenomenon could be the subject of future studies, because the works of Kelly Hager and William A. Cohen hint these themes quite insufficiently. At the identical time, this peculiarity of Charles Dickens’ personality that got mirrored in his creative literary works did not allow him to profoundly mirror human nature, despite doubtless, and even immense literature talent. The seamless Dickens ignoring of human sexuality had significantly limited his influence on the culture of the 19th century. Unfortunately, the writers who later attempted to supplement the sexuality breach didn’t possess even one-tenth of the talent of Dickens and due to this fact were unable to reflect this subject in English literature. The indicated gap in Dickens’ artistic work allowed the later mockery of him that obtained mirrored, for example, in Evelyn Waugh’s novel, entitled “A Handful Of Dust,” the place the protagonist is doomed to studying out loud the novels by Charles Dickens to a frontrunner of a primitive tribe in the wilderness of the Amazon river, who forcedly maintain this British aristocrat as a hostage. It is tough to think about that the reading of Lev Tolstoy may occur underneath the same circumstances, that is to say, that the harsh irony of Evelyn Waugh captured an innate defect of Dickens’ work that prevented the author from overcoming the few invisible inches that separated his talented literature for residence reading from great literature that has the ability to change and exalt a human thoughts.
Cohen, William A. “Interiors: Sex and the Body in Dickens” Critical Survey 17.2 (2005): 5+. Questia. Web.
Hager, Kelly. “Jasper Packlemerton, Victorian Freak.” Victorian Literature and Culture, Cambridge University Press (2006), 34:209-232