Nicholas Nickleby

by Charles Dickens

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One Of The Most Critically Acclaimed And Successful Novels By The Legendary Charles Dickens. Download Nicholas Nickleby, READ online FREE or buy:

This novel first saw the light of day back in 1838 and had been published in a serialized form for a whole year (with small chapters coming out each month). This is the 3rd full-length novel by Mr. Charles Dickens. The story follows an overzealous and capable young man named Nick who is forced to grow up fast after his dad passes away.

He’s the only man in the family now and must find a way to put food on the table for his mom and sister. In a way, this tale is autobiographical, as Dickens himself was forced to leave his childhood behind at a very young age.

It’s no secret that when the writer was 12, the government locked his father up for his debts, leaving the family stranded. Charles went through hell and had to do whatever it took to survive in the big city without his dad’s support.

Nicholas Nickleby Summary

The novel starts with Nick’s dad’s death. The man passed away after he made the mistake of trusting his money with a bad investment. So now the boy and his family (his mom and sister) have no other choice but to leave their gorgeous house.

They can’t support the old lifestyle anymore, which leaves them with one option: to move to London and ask Nick’s uncle – Ralph – for help. The uncle is a cold-hearted, brutal entrepreneur who has no love for his relatives and despises Nick simply because he’s a constant reminder of his dead brother.

Still, he does find a job for his nephew, that of an assistant to Mr. Squeers, the principal of the local school. The pay grade is low, but it’s better than nothing, so, the boy gladly agrees. At the same time, he can’t stand his new boss because of his horrible attitude towards his students. Yet, Nick understands that he’s weak right now and decides to close his eyes.

Charles Dickens As The Champion Of The Abused

Soon, Nicholas learns the real truth about the school. As it turns out, all the kids there are rejected by their parents (some of them are crippled, while others are bastards) and “locked up” for a significant amount of money. That allows Squeers to do whatever he wants with them. They don’t get enough food and he constantly mistreats the boys, but nobody even cares.

Squeers takes all of the money and spends very little on the kids. He takes advantage of the fact that the moms and dads never visit the school; so, he rules like a tyrant without any consequences. Together with his beast-of-a-wife, he beats the little ones while putting his own son on the pedestal and spoiling him in every way possible.

The man is not nearly enough educated to be qualified as a teacher. Yet, he constantly punishes the boys and makes them do all kinds of chores. Along with Pecksniff, another terrifying character by Charles Dickens, Squeers is one of the greatest villains in the writer’s lineup.

Standing Up Against The Oppressors

He’s used to getting away with whatever evil deeds he does. The government, the society, and even their own parents don’t really care about these boys. They’re left all alone in this world, without any help or support. The psycho needs to be rotting up in prison but is, instead, enjoying his freedom and making significant amounts of money while abusing and mistreating the poor kids.

However, as long as the world has heroes like Nicholas, there’s still hope for a better future. He’s just another poor kid trying to get by, but when he witnesses Squeers beating an innocent boy who he befriended, the young man snaps and beats the moron half-to-death. He leaves the school immediately after the incident and heads to London.

Dickens always stands up for what’s right and fights injustice with every fiber of his passionate soul. That’s why he’s a legendary writer today. Many authors have expressed their support for the admirable people from the lowest social class, but nobody does it better than Charles Dickens.

Starting Slow But Finishing Strong

With this novel, Dickens went back to the good old format of releasing a small “portion” of the story via monthly installments. He continued to work with his most trusted publisher – the partnership proved to be successful in previous years. After the very last chapter came out, they combined all the separate chapters into one big volume and released it as a book.

Nickleby is written in a humorous, laid-back kind of style, the one that the fans of the writer know and love. At the same time, the second half of the story is a lot more serious. Furthermore, the narrative becomes more fast-paced and thrilling.

Dickens started to work on this tale while he was still finishing one of his greatest books ever – Oliver Twist. So, that explains the light and relatively happy mood in the first chapters. Still, there are enough memorable characters and scenes that will get stuck in your head.

Nicholas Nickleby Themes

The novel mostly takes place in the capital of the UK, while Yorkshire is also an important part of the story. Social satire, Dickens’s favorite genre, allowed him to “attack” social injustice of all shapes and sizes.

The critics are calling it one of the greatest works in history, while others criticize it for being way too satirical and for the lack of proper character development. But, in all fairness, that’s not what this book is all about. Its main purpose is to attack the monsters among us and to make us stand up and act instead of hiding in the shadows. Squeers and Uncle Ralph are one of the most memorable characters of the XIX century.

Nicholas, the hero of the novel, is not an ideal man. He makes mistakes, just like any other human being on this planet. But he makes up for them and is ready to lose everything just to help the innocents. He’s an honest, likable young man. The only thing he misses is experience, and that is why he can be both harsh and naive.

He’s not a perfect character, not an angel, which makes him that much more human and alive. The lad lets his emotions take over and blames himself for the mistakes of others. At the same time, it’s people like him that can and do make a difference in life.

The Genius Of Charles Dickens

The master knows how to be funny, educational, thought-provoking and influential all at the same time while delivering a truly entertaining novel. The notorious Yorkshire school ran by the brutal and unforgiving Mr. Squeers, the way Dickens writes about it, deserves the highest praise.

Now, Nickleby is the very first romance by the famed English writer and marked a new step in his career. The novel was incredibly successful and popular among the rich, the poor, and the folks in between. It’s safe to say that England was mesmerized by this book.

Both the critics and the fans loved the setting, the characters, and the moral of the story. This is one of the most important steps on Dickens’s path towards greatness. There aren’t a lot of books written by him that received so many positive reviews, which makes it special.

Nicholas Nickleby Movie, TV, And Theatrical Adaptations


The very first movie adaptation saw the light of day in 1912. There was a 2-minute clip in 1903 that depicted the famous fight scene from the novel, but it was just too short to consider it a proper movie. As for the first sound film, it came out in 1947. The movie cast includes popular artists of that time, including Hardwicke, Bond, and Howes.

Ten years later, the first TV show was released. The second one came out in ’68. Another notable adaptation saw the light of day in 2001. It was nominated for many prestigious awards and is considered to be one of the best on-screen editions of the famous novel.

A year later, the Americans introduced their own version starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood (Hathaway, Plummer, and Hunnam). The latest adaptation saw the light of day in 2012. BBC turned it into a modern-day story and introduced some changes to the plot.

One of the first theatrical adaptations premiered in 1838. The Americans introduced their stage performance in 1850. In 1980, a highly unusual play took place in the West End. It lasted for 10 hours and received a lot of praise. Three years later, it was broadcast on TV in America. It won several prestigious awards and is available on DVD. The latest adaptation saw the light of day in 2012.


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