Dickens and the uses of the imagination
Charles Dickens owes his success as a novelist to his imagination. Therefore, his attitude toward imagination is of interest. One way of determining his attitude toward imagination is to examine the characters that have imaginations.There are several characters in Dickens' works that misuse their imaginations. Initially Dickens regards these characters leniently. Eventually, however, he regards them harshly. He dwells on the damage caused by the misdirection of their imaginations.Many of the other characters who are imaginative are children or childlike adults. Dickens treats them sentimentally. This tendency to sentimentalize such characters continues throughout Dickens' career. However, with certain characters he does seem to try to correct this tendency.Finally in his last complete novel, Our Mutual_ Friend, he treats Jenny Wren, a character who uses her imagination a positive way, realistically. She represents the final development of his attitudes on imagination.