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Eccentric Characters in Charles Dickens Novels

One of the things that make Charles Dickens novels so interesting is the abundance of eccentric characters. It almost seems that with the exception of the heroes in the books, most of the characters are eccentric to some degree. By this I mean they are persons of unconventional and strange views or behavior.

For example, in Great Expectations Miss Havisham is a probable 40 year old spinster who lives the same way she did on her wedding date 20 years ago when she was jilted by her fiancee. Time has stopped for her and she still wears her wedding dress.

Moving on to Oliver Twist , Fagin the Jew reminds me of being eccentric. He lives in London as the ringleader of young pickpockets.

Finally, in David Copperfield , most of the characters are eccentric. Aunt Betsy who mistakes David as her god-niece lives with the mentally challenged Mr. Dick. Mr. Bakus a coach driver and husband of Peggotty is a weird miser. Other notable eccentrics are Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, and Dr. Strong the headmaster of David's school. Dr. Strong usually has his mind in the clouds and is married to a woman young enough to be his granddaughter.

Image Credit » by jarmoluk

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indexer wrote on January 21, 2016, 7:42 AM

There are nearly 1000 named characters in Dickens's novels, and most of them could be termed eccentric in one way or another. The ones who are not are just plain dull!

Rufuszen wrote on January 21, 2016, 10:23 AM

Makes you wonder how widespread eccentricity was in Victorian times or is it just a literary device to move the plot along!

Dawnwriter wrote on January 21, 2016, 12:07 PM

I am enjoying Charles Dickens books all over again vicariously through your updates. Thanks for sharing these snippets. emoticon :smile:

msiduri wrote on January 21, 2016, 2:15 PM

A lot of Dickens' characters were, well, bent. I'm not sure why, but I got the impression that Miss Havisham was much older than 40 when I read the book. Maybe that's because I was a teenager when I read it and 40, was, you know. older than my mother—ANCIENT.

Paulie wrote on January 21, 2016, 10:48 PM

Yes, no one wants to read about dull characters. There is something interesting about all of these eccentric characters.

Paulie wrote on January 21, 2016, 10:50 PM

You ask a very interesting question. Have you done any research into social conditions during the Victorian times?

Paulie wrote on January 21, 2016, 10:51 PM

Thank you very much for your comment. I'm happy you have liked my Dickens reviews so far.

Paulie wrote on January 21, 2016, 10:54 PM

I'm assuming Miss Havisham is around 40, because she probably was engaged to be married at the age of 20, and Pip is around 23 right before she dies. I don't think Dickens ever mentions her name in the novel.

Rufuszen wrote on January 22, 2016, 3:33 AM

I wonder if anyone did research on it then and now?

CalmGemini wrote on January 22, 2016, 6:06 AM

I find it nice that we are having a discussion or rather a chat about characters in the novels of Charles Dickens here,in Persona Paper.We have to thank you Paulie for starting it.

AliCanary wrote on January 23, 2016, 2:55 PM

I really need to read some Dickens. Sounds very entertaining!

allen0187 wrote on January 26, 2016, 1:03 AM

Eccentric is the new normal in my own opinion. So in the world of Charles Dickens, those who are normal are the 'crazy ones'!

VinceSummers wrote on May 30, 2017, 10:13 PM

There are loads and loads of 'em. I'm too tired to read the heavy-duty Dickens these days, but I appreciate them, just the same.