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questions NN chap 49-56 | Montreal Dickens Fellowship

Montreal Dickens Fellowship
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Montreal Dickens Fellowship Study Questions: “Nicholas Nickleby”
Westmount Public Library
April 7, 2015 1:00-3:00
Chapters 49 - 56

  1. Comment on Dickens’s literary device of putting Nicholas into the future looking back as he describes Smike’s illness.
  2. Do all of Dickens’s hints make it clear what Smike’s trouble is?
  3. What were the laws regarding dueling at the time this novel was written (1838)? When was dueling outlawed?
  4. Comment on the descriptive final paragraph of Chapter 50 (after the duel) It is one of my favorite samples of Dickens’s genius!
  5. 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
  6. Do you think the Kenwigs would ever have reconciled with Uncle Lilivick had Henrietta Pewtoker not run off with a sailor.
  7. Comment on the fairy-tale quality of Arthur Gride’s betrothal to Madeline. It is complete with princess in distress, ogre and prince charming!
  8. 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?
  9. Ralph Nickleby lost 10,000 pounds due to the failure of a client. What is the equivalent amount in today’s currency?
  10. Ralph assumes that Nicholas will be hurt by the loss of Madeline’s money, judging him by his own greed. Comment.