Dickens isn't philosophically resolute in his moralism, he's comical, reactionary, and metaphorical. Orwell even says he has "no constructive suggestion of what he's attacking, just an emotional perception something is wrong." (p. 182). Like all novelists he teases and insinuates what he hated and served it up on an accessible, feel-good platter. There are no inconvenient truths, no frightening reality checks, yet there is a universe written in the tone of his ideal of the moral good.
On page 182 Orwell says, "He is always preaching a sermon, and that is the final secret of his inventiveness. For you can only create if you can care." I can speak from experience that a writer's best writing stems from what they're passionate about. Some are more overtly passionate than others, and there's a tether between overall quality of the piece and the overtness, but Dickens, like any effective moralist, allows his ideal of moral good to softly permeate into the story. Dickens clearly cares about people, but he more so cares about he relationship between people, and how institutions in power affects them. An effective means to convey this is to incorporate money, which is a common theme (poor against rich) for Dickens, and Orwell illuminates how Dickens is always on the side of the underdog. Page 183 says, "What he is out against is not this or that institution, but, as Chesterton put it, 'an expression on the human face.'" This is terribly insightful because he understands that social institutions are simply a product of individual human wants gathered in a collective, rather than an independent body of anti-values. To change society, to support the underdog, to smash the aristocrats, is to reflect upon the incentives we each drive toward, and wonder if we would think and act the same if we had same social endowments as the upper class. If we're confident we wouldn't act the same, no amount of genteel seduction could sway us; we could be happy living poor. If we would think the same way, then it's on us as individuals. Society doesn't break us; it just enjoys putting us out of tune because we then think we need it.
On page 183-4, Orwell says, "No grown-up person can read Dickens without feeling his limitations, and yet there does remain his native generosity of mind, which acts as a kind of anchor and nearly always keeps him where he belongs. It is probably the central secret of his popularity." Dickens' tone is optimistic and comical, and his caricatured characters glow in a way that provides positive energy. Just look at the first paragraph of Chapter 2 of Dickens' Pickwick Papers:
That punctual servant of all work, the sun, had just risen, and begun to strike a light on the morning of the thirteenth of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, when Mr. Samuel Pickwick burst like another sun from his slumbers, threw open his chamber window, and looked out upon the world beneath. Goswell Street was at his feet, Goswell Street was on his right hand--as far as the eye could reach, Goswell Street extended on his left; and the opposite side of Goswell Street was over the way. 'Such,' thought Mr. Pickwick, 'are the narrow views of those philosophers who, content with examining the things that lie before them, look not to the truths which are hidden beyond. As well might I be content to gaze on Goswell Street for ever, without one effort to penetrate to the hidden countries which on every side surround it.' And having given vent to this beautiful reflection, Mr. Pickwick proceeded to put himself into his clothes, and his clothes into his portmanteau. Great men are seldom over scrupulous in the arrangement of their attire; the operation of shaving, dressing, and coffee-imbibing was soon performed; and, in another hour, Mr. Pickwick, with his portmanteau in his hand, his telescope in his greatcoat pocket, and his note-book in his waistcoat, ready for the reception of any discoveries worthy of being noted down, had arrived at the coach-stand in St. Martin's-le-Grand. 'Cab!' said Mr. Pickwick.
Pickwick had an ethereal glow. He burst out of bed like the sun, out-philosophised philosophers, reflected humbly about history, and efficiently "performed the operations" of shaving, dressing, and drinking morning coffee in under an hour because that's the appropriate time frame a great man spends on these things. On top of that, he carries his luggage out like an adventurer (to his credit, his is embarking on an adventure), with a telescope in his pocket and a note-book in hand. I assume a pocket telescope in the late 1820's was functionally modern day's binoculars, but still, you can tell he expects to see the crevasses of the moon, if not, unlock the key to world hunger. He will not accidentally discover anything.
Dickens truly cared for Pickwick's pursuit of great adventures, which is why he could imbue such a ridiculous character with such relevance. Pickwick's follies unwittingly champion the human drive to move forward, because he's not fearful of risk, status, or destitution. Surely Pickwick is a borderline Disney character, however, he represents human curiosity, arrogance, confidence and humor without really offending anyone, which keeps the reader engaged in the story rather than receding from it.
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