Montreal Dickens Fellowship Study Questions: “Nicholas Nickleby”
Westmount Public Library
April 7, 2015 1:00-3:00
Chapters 49 - 56
- Comment on Dickens’s literary device of putting Nicholas into the future looking back as he describes Smike’s illness.
- Do all of Dickens’s hints make it clear what Smike’s trouble is?
- What were the laws regarding dueling at the time this novel was written (1838)? When was dueling outlawed?
- Comment on the descriptive final paragraph of Chapter 50 (after the duel) It is one of my favorite samples of Dickens’s genius!
- Dickens is a master of personification (giving human qualities to inanimate objects). Discuss this using the opening paragraphs of Chapter 51 in which he describes Arthur Grides’ house
- Do you think the Kenwigs would ever have reconciled with Uncle Lilivick had Henrietta Pewtoker not run off with a sailor.
- Comment on the fairy-tale quality of Arthur Gride’s betrothal to Madeline. It is complete with princess in distress, ogre and prince charming!
- How could Nicholas be shocked when he discovers Frank’s love for Kate and vice versa? Even self-absorbed Mrs. Nickleby has seen it! Is he justified in his disapproval of the romance? Does he underestimate the Cheeryble brothers? Do you think he is too proud?
- Ralph Nickleby lost 10,000 pounds due to the failure of a client. What is the equivalent amount in today’s currency?
- Ralph assumes that Nicholas will be hurt by the loss of Madeline’s money, judging him by his own greed. Comment.