Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth, England on February 7, 1812. He was the second child of John Dickens, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. Since his father was always getting into debt, Charles’ childhood was spent under the shadow of economic insecurity. At a very young age, he was sent to work at a factory for six shillings a week where he had to stick labels on bottles. As finances improved slightly, Charles was able to attend a school at Hampstead for three years.
In 1827, at the age of fifteen, he entered a solicitor’s office as a junior clerk. Though it was not a well-paid job, it enabled him to get a certain independence and an opportunity to meet new people. He started going to the theatre too.
In 1833, he wrote his first piece for the Old Monthly Magazine. Then followed a succession of articles in other magazines. Oliver Twist came out in 1838 with The Old Curiosity Shop following in 1841. A Christmas Carol was written in 1843 and one of his most famous literary works, David Copperfield, was written in 1849.
Charles Dickens also wrote A Tale of Two Cities .and Great Expectations. His works always portrayed the dark side of Victorian life. His social criticisms helped in improving school and jail conditions. Some of his characters like Mr. Macawber, Miss Havisham and Little Pip are popular even today.
He died of a stroke on June 9, 1870 and was buried in Westminster Abbey — where all the great English writers are buried. This is indeed a fitting tribute for a young boy who started his career in a factory