Charles Dickens wrote no fairytale endings – or did he? | Charles Dickens | The Guardian
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  • Orwell pointed out in a famous essay about his Victorian forbear, it’s hard to know “where exactly” Dickens stands “socially, morally, and politically”. Orwell says Dickens was claimed by everyone from Marxists to Catholics who alternately saw him advocating for proletarian revolution or defending the old social order: “It is hopeless to try and pin him down to any definite remedy, still more to any political doctrine.”

    The Secretary and Miss Wilfer from Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
    The Secretary and Miss Wilfer from Our Mutual Friend. Photograph: Alamy

    Dickens could just as powerfully mock the cruelty and injustice of aristocratic France as decry the murderous injustice of the years following the 1789 revolution. He would just as fervently applaud a character like David Copperfield for making his way up in the world asthe Poor Law. But there’s also fierce loathing for the grim subsistence characters like Rogue Riderhood make from fishing up the detritus of the River Thames. There’s also a delight in the orderly inheritance of wealth in the story of John Harmon – and satisfaction that a servant like Mr Boffin should stay in his lane. When Harmon gets the loot that might otherwise have gone to Boffin, Mrs Boffin declares that it looks as if the “money had turned bright again, after a long, long rust in the dark and was at last beginning to sparkle in the sunlight”.

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