Show MoreNicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Chapter 13 effectively encourages the reader to resent Squeers and see him as the villain, whereas Nicholas is portrayed as the hero and
Smike and the other bays are lavished with sympathetic feelings. The chapter starts with a depressing description of the boys sleeping conditions, Dickens uses words like: feeble, ragged, and dull, to describe it, this powerful description makes the reader feel-strengthening hatred toward Squeers.
Squeers is the headmaster at the boarding school "Dotheboys Hall"where
Nicholas was sent to work by his uncle after his father's death. His father had only a small amount of money so he left it to his brother, and trusted him to look after his family,…show more content…
Squeers is a sadist: "With hands trembling with delight, Squeers unloosened the cord" he treats the boys in an appalling manner. He deliberately overworks, underfeeds and poorly houses the boys, Squeers does this deliberately to fulfil his sadistic tendencies, and he also looks forward to beating the boys at every opportunity,: "beat him until the little urchin in his writhings actually rolled out of his hands" this is also indicated in the case of Smike. During the fight between Nicholas and Squeers, It becomes apparent that when Squeers is deprived of fulfilling his ambitions he becomes very enraged: "Sit down, beggar!' screamed Squeers, almost beside himself with rage, and seizing Smike as he spoke." This confrontation is very important, as it is the climax to the chapter and a large amount of the book so far, it also justifies any doubt the reader has in the roles the characters play, Nicolas as the hero and Squeers as the villain. Dickens used stronger descriptive language and lots of well-written dialog in this section of the chapter: screamed, miserable, daunted and helpless are all examples of this. This stile of writing that Dickens has adopted or created for this piece adds emotion to the moment.
Mrs. Squeers (Mrs.S) plays a less effective role in the chapter acting almost as a sidekick to Mr. Squeers (Squeers), often encouraging him and backing up his insults: when the voice of Squeers was heard, calling from the
Nicholas and Kate are forced to travel to London and leave their hometown Devonshire where they were living in comfort. They seek the help of their only relative Ralph Nickleby, who is a cold and ruthless businessman.
Ralph is not desirous of helping their destitute relatives and gets Nicholas a low paying job with one eyed man Mr. Squeers. Ralph’s clerk, hands over a letter expressing concern for young man and offers assistance if needed.
Nicholas learns while working with Mr. Squeers, that he and his wife are involved in a scam. They ill-treat and starve the innocent children who are born illegally, crippled or deformed and in turn charge high fees from their parents for taking care of them.
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Nicholas bluntly denies the affections of Mr. Squeers’ daughter Fanny, who deludes herself into thinking that he loves her. He also befriends Smike, a simple boy who is an unpaid servant in the place.
One fine morning, Smike tries to run away but is caught. When he is got back to Dotheboys Hall, Mr. Squeers begins to beat him, to which Nicholas intervenes and gives back a violent thrashing.
Nicholas packs his belongings and is found by Smike who wishes to go with him and both of them set out towards London. When Nicholas’s search for employment fails, Noggs gives him the position of a French teacher. Kate and her mother have been forced out of their Cheerblye’s lodgings by Mr. Ralph who sends them to a cold, drafty slum. Ralph employs Kate in Madame Mantalini’s showroom where her husband tries to flirt with Kate.
Ralph invites Kate to a dinner where she is betted over by Mr. Hawk who also attempts to force himself upon her in an inebriated state. Kate doesn’t tell her mother with the fear of losing financial assistance from Ralph. Later, Nicholas is also turned down by his uncle and has to leave London.
Smike and Nicholas join an acting company and perform great plays earning great acclaim for their performances from the audiences. Hawk and one of his friends Lord Frederick plot to humiliate Kate for refusing his advances.
Ralph refuses to help and Noggs informs Nicholas who returns back to London to help his sister. Hawk and Fredrick attempt to toast Kate in a restaurant which is discovered by Nicholas who beats them. Lord Verisopht is killed by Hawk in the resulting duel and Ralph loses the huge sum of money he owed to the Lord. A beggar Brooker tells Ralph that he has a secret about him, which he ignores.
Nicholas is helped out by a benevolent merchant who employs him and offers him generous salary and also provides a house for the family in London Suburb. Smike falls severely ill with tuberculosis and inspite of all attempts to save him, he dies.
Nicholas has fallen in love with Madeline Bray and learns that Bray’s father had a huge debt to pay off to Ralph.
Bray is marrying his daughter with Arthur Gride to pay off the debts. Guilt-Ridden Bray dies on the wedding day and Madeline is saved from marrying Gride. Nicholas and Kate take her home.
Ralph makes various schemes against Nicholas in which he fails. Squeers is also arrested. Ralph learns from beggar Brooker that the dead Smike was his own son from a woman that Ralph married. Ralph is devastated and commits suicide.
Nicholas marries Madeline and their extended family moves to Devonshire, where they live in peace.