Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, the second of John Dicken's eight children. In 1823, the Dickens family moved to London with the hopes of bettering their financial situation, but the family's plight quicly worsened. Charles only twelve years old went to work in a blacking factory to help his family when his father was put in jail for debt, and the whole family except Charles moved into Marshelsea Debtors' Prison. Charles was paid six shillings a week. The weeks were long 12 to 14 hours. This terrible experience haunted Charles for the rest of his life. Three months later his father was released and Charles went back to school. When Charles was fifteen years old he taught himself short hand and hoped to find work as a freelance reporter.
1836 was a landmark year for Dickens. It saw the publication of his Sketches by Boz, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, and his marriage to Catherine Hogarth. The Pickwick Papers were an immediate success, and they made Dicken's reputation as a major novelist. The success of The Pickwick Papers was partly due to its serial publication. The novel instead of being sold as one, as novels are today was published in separate installments each month. Serial publications not only made novels less expensive for the buyer, but they had a built-in means of producing suspense. Between parts the reader was left hanging waiting for the next chapter, somwhat like soap-operas today. Dickens followed The Pickwick Papers with a string of other successful, and still famous, works like Oliver Twist in 1837.Dickens's expresses his pain in his characterslike Pip in Great Expectations. .