Montreal Dickens Fellowship Study Questions: “Nicholas Nickleby”
Westmount Public Library
May 5, 2015 1:00-3:00
Chapters 57 - 65
- Comment on the “Dickensian” coincidence of Squeers finding Peg and of Newman Noggs and Frank finding Squeers.
- Do you believe that Ralph had any presentiment about the truth of Smike’s paternity?
- What do you make of the mysterious black cloud that follows Ralph as he makes his way back home from the Cheerybles?
- For those of you familiar with “Bleak House”, do you think the burial ground described is based on the same inner city churchyard as the one in “Tom All-Alones” where Nemo is buried?
- How was suicide thought of in Victorian society? Did you have any pity for Uncle Ralph at the end?
- What do you think of the “and they lived happily ever after” ending? Did you find Dickens’s tying up of all the loose ends satisfying? Why? Why not?
- What were your favorite and least favorite parts of this novel?
- Compare and contrast this novel with “Pickwick Papers” and “Oliver Twist” and/or other Dickens works you may have read in terms of pace, themes, characters, and melodrama.
- Nicholas Nickleby is often said to be Dickens’s funniest work. Do you agree? Comment on Dickens’s prowess in balancing humor with such serious topics as child abuse, fraud, usury, corruption, tuberculosis and suicide.
- Comment on the novel’s length and readability. Was it worth it? Would you recommend it to a friend? Comment on its’ appeal or lack of appeal to the younger generation?