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American Notes | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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In text

(Course Hero, 2020)



Course Hero. "American Notes Study Guide." November 13, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2023.


Course Hero, "American Notes Study Guide," November 13, 2020, accessed February 3, 2023,



Charles Dickens

Year Published





History, Memoir

At a Glance

American Notes chronicles the journey of British author Charles Dickens through various parts of the United States. Dickens arrives in January 1842, and travels throughout much of the Eastern seaboard and the American West visiting places such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Louisville, St. Louis, and many others. He finds the people and towns of the United States to be kind and pleasing and many American institutions are highly efficient and admirable such as courts, prisons, schools, and homes for the disabled. He criticizes sensationalism in the American press, the divisiveness of political parties, and the institution of slavery.

Perspective and Narrator

American Notes is narrated in the past tense by the author Charles Dickens who recounts his firsthand travels in the United States.

About the Title

Charles Dickens organizes his travel journal chronologically beginning with his ocean journey from England to the United States. He describes each important American locale he visits in some detail, noting the unique attributes of the institutions he tours and the accommodations of which he avails himself. He curates what he sees and remarks on what he finds most interesting, collecting everything into a narrative he calls American Notes for its informal quality and loose organizational structure.


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