The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Character Analysis

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Mr. Pickwick

Mr. Pickwick is an elderly man and the founder of the Pickwick Club. He is fond of food and drink and collecting interesting facts and stories on his travels. The novel follows his adventures as he travels throughout England. He spends time with his closest friends and is frequently accompanied by his servant, Sam Weller. Mr. Pickwick is admired as a humanitarian and a scholar, but he seems to be very naïve and easily fooled. He has several embarrassing experiences, but the most challenging is when his landlady accuses him of breach of promise, landing him in prison. Mr. Pickwick survives his time in prison and is ultimately vindicated.

Sam Weller

When Mr. Pickwick first meets Sam, Sam is a servant at an inn. Mr. Pickwick is impressed with Sam's ready wit and offers him a job as his servant. Sam accepts the job because Mr. Pickwick offers a good salary and a set of nice clothes. As time goes on, Sam becomes deeply attached to Mr. Pickwick. He even arranges to get himself arrested so that he can care for Mr. Pickwick in prison. Sam refuses to get married when he believes his marriage will prevent him from serving Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick eventually arranges things so that Sam can both work for him and marry the girl he loves.

Mr. Jingle

Mr. Pickwick and his friends meet Mr. Jingle at the beginning of their adventures. Mr. Jingle is described as very tall and thin, with a distinctive way of speaking. While Mr. Pickwick and his friends enjoy Mr. Jingle's company, he frequently causes problems. Mr. Jingle is on the lookout for what he can get, as when he persuades Miss Rachael Wardle to run away with him so he can get her money. Mr. Pickwick loses track of Mr. Jingle, but finds him again in prison. Mr. Jingle and Job, his friend and servant, have been imprisoned. Mr. Pickwick is good to Mr. Jingle, which seems to change Mr. Jingle's heart. He is genuinely grateful to Mr. Pickwick and seems determined to be an honest man in the future.

Job Trotter

When the Pickwickians first meet Mr. Jingle, Job is not with him. Sam meets Job later when Job tricks him and Mr. Pickwick. Job's trick embarrasses Mr. Pickwick and allows Job and Mr. Jingle to escape. Job's relationship to Mr. Jingle seems to be as much friend and accomplice as servant. Nevertheless, they are inseparable. Job even stays with Mr. Jingle when Jingle is imprisoned for debt. Near the end of the book, Mr. Pickwick arranges for Mr. Jingle to travel to the West Indies. Job is offered a position in London, but chooses to travel with Mr. Jingle.

Mr. Winkle

Mr. Winkle dresses, talks, and acts like a sportsman, but every time he is given a chance to demonstrate his prowess, he fails miserably. He is terrified when he thinks he will have to duel, falls off a horse, accidentally shoots Mr. Tupman, and can't manage to ice skate. In spite of all that, he is able to woo and win Arabella Allen and they elope. Then they need Mr. Pickwick's assistance to persuade Arabella's brother and Mr. Winkle's father to approve of the marriage.

Mr. Tupman

Mr. Tupman is described in an unromantic way: he is a chubby little man who takes himself more seriously than the rest of the world does. In spite of this, he does have one great romance in the book: he woos and almost wins Miss Rachael Wardle. After Rachael elopes with Mr. Jingle, Mr. Tupman is greatly disappointed. He never again pursues a serious relationship with a woman, indulging in safe flirtations to satisfy the romance in his soul.

Mr. Snodgrass

Mr. Snodgrass is a member of the Pickwickian foursome at the start of the book. He manages to avoid the embarrassing entanglements of his friends. However, he falls in love with Emily Wardle and they pursue a secret relationship. Eventually their relationship is made public, and Mr. Wardle is persuaded to allow them to marry.

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