Dickens stand as the greatest humorist in English fiction. Humour is stuff and substance of Dickens’ mental institution and essence of his art. Really, humour is the soul of his work like the soul of man. As humorist, Dickens has reserved his place among the English novelists and his place is next to Shakespeare. There are nearly hundred characters in Pickwick alone and all of them are comic. His comic characters unveil the fact that Dickens’ humour is broad human and creative. While the humour of Thackeray consists of humour of intellectual wit and the humour of Somerset mough is ironical. Dickens humour is not by far away by part.

Dickens extracted humor of his characters as we extract juice from fruits. By his rich imagination, he invented comic characters who gives life and blood to his novels. Dickens lives chiefly in comic characters but there are so numerous, so astonishing, so altogether delightful that a writer could hardly wish for a better hold up on posterity. It is impossible to forget his comic characters like Macawber, Mrs. camp, Mr. Peter Magnus and Pomple Choak with the publication of Dickens first novel Pickwick Papers, his gift of humour became apparent. His comic characters can be divided into two groups. One where he accepts them without the intervention of any moral standards and the other when he rejoices in them for their own sake.

The very opening of the novel is full of irony and satire. Gradgrind Introduces satirical  explanation of his utilitarian theory of facts to the new school master. There is irony in the author’s description of Gradgrind’s eyes, forehead, mouth, voice, hair and in the description of little vessels. Again, there is irony in the manner in which the colourless boy, Bitzer, with his factual definition of a horse is described. Then, there is the new schoolmaster who is ironically described as one of the large batch of school masters who were produced “at the same time, in the same factory, on the same principles, like so many pianoforte legs”, and who had crammed a Multitude of facts pestaining to most of the sciences and arts.

Satire is also aimed at Gradgrind’s educational system and the manner of his upbringing of his children. No little Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon. No little Gradgrind had ever learnt the silly Jingle. Twinkle, Twinkle, little star how I wonder what you are; Gradgrind does not allow his children to exercise their fancy or to wonder at anything. Circus and other means of recreation are prohibited to them. He has brought up his children in a mathematical manner. All this is amusing satire. There is irony in the very name of Bounderby, he is a mean fellow and greedy fellow without bounds; he wants to keep his wife well within his bounds but she breaks them off.

Mrs. Sparsit is a figure of ridicule. She satirised for his snobbery hypocrisy and deceitfulness, etc. He satirized even her physical appearance just as those of Gradgrind and Bounderby. In this novel, Bitzer is also a figure of satire. He is the best product of Gradgrind model school. Bitzer’s mind is is so exactly regulated that he has no affections or passions. When he refuses to let Tom go, he defends his action with reference to the theory of self interest which he was taught in Grad’s school. There is supreme irony in this situation and the author offers us an ironic commentary on Grad’s philosophy to which everything was to be paid for and gratitude was to be abolished. In the same way many other characters like James Harthouse, Mr sleasy are satirised. There is a institution ‘Trade Union’ in this novel. Slackbridge is the trade union leader who is the target of some cruel satire. His inflated rhetoric and his exaggerated charges against Stephen depict him in a most unfavorable light critics have been disappointed with Dickens’ portrayal of Slackbridge, but we in India know that many of our trade unions do have leaders of this kind, and so, we can respond to the satire implied in these trade union scenes, cruel as the satire may be Slackbridge addresses his audiences as if he were the greatest patriot in the land, and as if he had come to address them as their only saviour against the greatest danger to their cause, namely, Stephen who is in actual fact the most harmless man.


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