In 1822, John Dickens, then a senior clerk in the navy pay office, was transferred from Chatham to London. There, continuing to spend more than he earned, he soon became hopelessly insolvent. In 1824, Charles was taken out of school and sent to work, pasting labels on pots of shoe blacking. Two weeks later, John Dickens was jailed at Marshalsea, a debtors' prison. The humiliation and despair of 1824 left permanent emotional scars. However, what English literature was to gain from this experience when Dickens became a writer was an unprecedentedly vivid and varied presentation of childhood as vulnerability. In fact, Dickens must be credited as the first serious English novelist to deal extensively with the victimized child, a theme that has continued to produce masterpieces in fiction and film. Bleak House
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