Teaching Charles Dickens at Victorianweb.org
"Yes, Uriah?" I asked.
"Ssssorry, ssssir, to tell this to you, but your Charles Dickens lesson plans ssssstink. You can't afford to do a poor job during these Hard Times," he responded, as grease dripped from his hair. "It seems your classssssroom ressssembles a Bleak House when you teach them. I wish David Copperfield would show up and make them disssssappear."
"I will not stand for this you pip----" Suddenly, Barnaby stood up and hit me over the head with his chimes. I woke up three hours later. On my desk lay Charles Dickens lesson plans. One of them involved literature websites. I used it the next day. For some reason students enjoyed looking up information on literature websites more than listening to me with my traditional Charles Dickens lesson plans. Even Little Dorrit liked it.
Who would have thought there was a comprehensive website with answers to everything you'd ever want to know about Victorian literature. I wonder what Ms. Havisham would think of all this? I'd recommend online dating for her.
The Dickens section of Victorianweb.org has information regarding Dickens' life, works, economic contexts (I didn't even know what economic contexts meant until I clicked on it), political history, social history, gender matters (I told you they had everything), genre and mode, literary relations, visual arts, science, themes, characterization, imagery, narrative, and related web sources. Most sites would brag about having that many sections. Not Victorianweb.org. Each of the above sections has 10-20 additional subsections.
Skeptical? I'm sure you've been to literature websites with questionable credentials in the past. Victorianweb, however, supplies a bibliography. Rest assured when you or your students use Victorianweb.org for your Charles Dickens lesson plans, you're getting reliable information.
The only downside to the site is it's geared to a more scholarly audience than perhaps exists in your classroom. In addition, some of the links are outdated.
Questions to Spur Research
Use the following questions to get your students searching and learning (at the very least, it's a good excuse to get out of the classroom and into the computer lab for a day of grading, video games, or following sports).
- Supply the following biographical information on Charles Dickens: birthdate, birthplace, first job, death date, and burial-place. (February 7, 1812; Portsmouth; Journalist; June 9, 1870;Westminster Abbey)
- What was Dickens' father arrested for? (failure to pay debts)
- Explain the significance of the blacking factory?
- What were some critical aspects in Dickens' popularity?
- What are the five Dickens' Christmas books?
- List five specific ways Dickens developed characters.
- What biographical elements are present in Great Expectations?
- List three additional websites about Dickens.
- What name did Dickens use as a journalist? (Boz)
- How were Dickens' novels published?