What Does Dickens Want Us to Understand About the Business of Being Human is that Family is More Important Than Money
Charles Dickens was a master storyteller renowned for his vivid characters, memorable plot lines, and timeless themes One theme that Dickens regularly explored in his works was the idea that family is more important than money. Being human, he believed, meant cherishing relationships and shared experiences with loved ones, rather than solely focusing on the acquisition of material wealth. In his novels, Dickens often showed how focusing on money can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and even despair.
Dickens used the stories of many different characters to express the idea that family is more important than money. For example, in A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton chooses to sacrifice himself for the sake of a woman he loves, Lucie Manette. Though Lucie is from a wealthy family, Carton is willing to give up his life for her based on their shared connection, even though it means he will never receive any financial reward. This emphasizes the idea that money does not have the same value as relationships and experiences shared with those closest to us.
In Great Expectations, another of Dickens’s most popular works, Pip learns that his mysterious benefactor is none other than his old friend and convict, Magwitch. Despite the large sum of money that Magwitch gives to Pip, the most important thing they share is the love and care they show one another. This demonstrates that money cannot replace the emotional bonds formed through love and friendship.
In David Copperfield, the titular character grows up with a strong connection to his Aunt Betsey Trotwood. Though she is not as wealthy as some of the other characters, Aunt Betsey provides David with more than money; she offers him emotional support and stability, which are far more valuable.
Another example of Dickens’s idea that family is more important than money is found in Oliver Twist. Throughout the novel, the Artful Dodger and Fagin, two thieves, attempt to use Oliver for their own financial gain. However, Oliver resists their plans and ultimately makes a successful escape. Momentarily being without money does not stop Oliver from reuniting with his family; in fact, it is his relationship to them that helps Oliver remain resilient through his difficult experiences.
Dickens teaches us that being human means giving priority to our relationships and experiences with family and friends over the pursuit of material goods. Despite his own financial struggles, he never lost sight of the importance of family love, friendship, and emotional support, values that remain just as relevant today as they were in the 19th century.