Description: A part of Charles Dickens's genius with character is his deftness at creating an appropriate idiolect for each character. Through their discourse, characters reveal not only themselves, but also Dickens's comment on social features that shape their communication style. Three specific idiolects are discussed in this study. First, Dickens demonstrates the pressures that an occupation exerts on Alfred Jingle from Pickwick Papers. Second, Mr. Gradgrind from Hard Times is robbed of his ability to communicate as Dickens highlights the errors of Utilitarianism. Finally, four characters from three novels demonstrate together the principle that social institutions can silence their defenseless constituents. Linguistic evaluation of speech habits illuminates Dickens's message that social structures can injure individuals. In addition, this study reveals the consistent and intuitive narrative art of Dickens.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Coats, Jerry B. (Jerry Brian)
Partner: UNT Libraries