Dombey and Son

by Charles Dickens

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A Powerful Novel By Charles Dickens About Pride, Arrogance, And Complicated Family Relationships. Download Dombey And Son, READ online FREE or buy:

Charles Dickens had a loving, caring, passionate heart, and he was always trying to make a difference with his novels. The writer still inspires countless folks around the world to stand their ground and to fight for what they believe in. Dombey and Son is one of the rare books that Dickens wrote mostly outside of the UK.

He started working on it in Switzerland and in France. The novel first saw the light of day in 1846 (October 1st, to be exact). As always, the master published it in a serialized form (one chapter every month); the last one came out on April 1, 1848. The complete book hit the shelves that same year.

Dombey And Son Summary

The plot is centered on Mr. Dombey, a rich and influential man, the owner of a successful shipping company called Dombey And Son. The gentleman doesn’t have a son yet but is all about raising a good kid in the future and teaching him about the ins and outs of the business. That’s his dream – to hand over his life work to his son when he grows up.

Unfortunately, the day his kiddo is born, his lovely wife dies due to some difficulties during the process. Louisa, his sister, persuades the widower to hire a wet nurse to take care of the newborn. Now, the boy is not Dombey’s first child. He already has a little one – a 6-year-old girl. However, he never wanted a daughter and has been ignoring her ever since the day she was born.

A Neglected Daughter And A Cherished Son

Dombey names his son Paul, after himself, and does everything in his power to provide him with the best care and treatments. The boy is sick and very weak. He is not nearly as bright and energetic as his peers and doesn’t have a single friend in the whole neighborhood.

Yet, he really likes his sister, who is constantly being rejected by their dad as an irrelevant member of the family. The man of the house sends them both to Brighton for the boy to gather his strength and study. Unfortunately, the poor kid dies at the age of 6.

After the tragedy, the gap between the father and the daughter increases, despite her constant attempts to earn his love and respect. Many years later, after she marries a man she falls in love with and gives birth to a child, her father’s heart finally melts and he welcomes her back with open arms.

Dombey And Son Themes

Mr. Dombey has spent his whole life paying literally no attention to his beautiful little girl. The only he could think about was raising a son and being proud of the man he becomes. He never really gave any thought to the fact that he left his daughter heartbroken.

Even after the boy passes away, the father still can’t bring himself to admit he was wrong and reunite with his one and only child. Slowly, but steadily, the man loses his business after he puts his trust in the wrong people. At the end of his days, he suddenly realizes that Florence – his baby girl – is the only human being that truly loves and cares for him.

Reflecting On His Own Experiences As A Child

Charles Dickens himself had a rough childhood and was forced to grow up without a father when he was a teenage boy. The government locked him up in prison to pay off for his debts, leaving the son all alone against the harsh world. If only his father could be more prudent, his lad wouldn’t have to deal with everything on his own.

By using the figure of Dombey, the writer warns the parents of the horrible consequences of the wrong decisions they make. Paul had everything he could ever want right there next to him for decades, but he was deliberately pushing his child away.

The choice that he made ruined both his life and the life of Florence. If not for her brave, forgiving and loving nature, they would be strangers to the end of his days.

Fathers And Children

In Barnaby Rudge, Mr. Chester, Ed’s father, wants to rob his son of his happiness for his own gain. His vile intentions ruin their relationship, forcing Edward to leave home. Yes, Dickens always talks about family and the mistakes of the fathers and mothers, just like all the other great writers of the 19th and the 20th centuries.

His novels allow us to learn more about our own families and see ourselves from a different perspective. That’s one of the biggest achievements of literature.
Charles Dickens’s Crusade Against Inequality And Injustice

Dickens is often being called a visionary and the champion of the regular men and women who were trying to make an honest living in the United Kingdom and everywhere else around Europe. In every single novel, the writer focuses on one or more socially relevant and significant themes and shares his own opinion about them.

In Dombey And Son, he talks a lot about the then-new concept of arranged marriages for financial purposes. As mentioned above, child cruelty also plays a major role in this novel, as do complicated family relationships, betrayals, lies, and secrets with dire consequences.

The Theme Of Pride In Dombey And Son

Finally, arrogance and pride are probably the central themes of the novel. True, the character of Dombey might be a little exaggerated, but Dickens is famous for his love for extremes. Paul single-handedly ruined his happiness and was ready to do everything in his power to make his daughter hate and despise him.

Pride followed the man on every step of the way, and even after he lost both his son and his business, Dombey still couldn’t let go of his false pride and become a humble man. If he could beat the demons inside and find his way back to Florence earlier, they’d have more time together, more time to appreciate each other and the lives they were given.

The Characters Of Dombey And Son

Some people are criticizing Charles Dickens for paying too much attention to Florence and saying “goodbye” to Paul, her brother, too early on. They claim she doesn’t deserve all that attentions and that her character is bright and beautiful, but not enough to be the hero of the story. Others congratulate him for not being afraid to switch the focus and put her life journey on the pedestal.

As a complete opposite to her father, she always tries to do the right thing and cherishes genuine relationships with people. Mr. Dombey, in turn, is used to buying his way into everything and even tries to “own” his second wife. And by letting the readers follow the different roads they take, Dickens creates a truly epic story worth giving the highest praise.

A Dombey And Son Movie

Due to the fact that this is one of the most resonating and critically acclaimed novels by Charles Dickens, there are many TV and movie adaptations. The first stage adaptation premiered in 1848. As for the very first film, it came out in 1917. It was a silent movie made in the United Kingdom.

The movie cast included Mr. McKinnel who portrayed Paul Dombey. Another big-screen adaptation hit the theaters in 1931. Titled Rich Man’s Folly, it was a pretty loose adaptation and took the story into the then-modern America.

A popular miniseries was introduced in 1969. In ’74, the Russians (the Soviets, to be exact), made their own adaptation of the novel. The movie cast included Valentin Gaft, a legendary actor. Nine years later, Julian Glover starred in a new film based on Dickens’s story. The latest TV adaptation was made by the French and came out in 2007.

Summing Up

Charles Dickens always combined drama and tragedy with humor. He understood that the solemn themes and concepts wouldn’t be understood by the masses unless he used his exceptional sense of humor and writing talent to “spice things up”. The funny and even ridiculous characters that find their way in most of his novels are meant to be like that.

At the same time, the significance of his ideas and the influence that he has on the new generations of writers can’t be overrated. Dickens truly is one of the greatest to ever walk the Earth, and Dombey And Son is arguably his most heart-wrenching story. It definitely deserves the highest praise and is worth reading over and over again.


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