Charles Dickens completely tears down my heart in “The Old Curiosity Shop”. The death of Nell Trent not long after she eventually tastes the sweetness of life, free from tiring journeys is very heartbreaking. Some say the last scenes prior to her death is too melancholy, fairy-driven tale and the like but apart from that, her fate is so sorrowful.
The last words she speak to her neighbors, her last wishes of being adorned with favorite flowers on her deathbed, the last smile, the very last hug she gives to her grandfather is very unbearable. Although I am prepared with the sad ending of the novel, still… the finale really makes me woeful. To make it much more depressing is her grandfather who spends a few days mourning her death. He, who is the source of all the misery, completely feels her unconditional love right before the book ends. Nell dies not long after that.
Feeling so grieved with her death, the grandfather spends a few days in her graveyard till finally he dies there. His sadness kills him very quickly.
You can all tell how miserable the ending of the book is. When I decided to buy the book I never thought this would be much more melancholy than I had expected. Long, long before I come to the last pages of the book, imagining this company, walking with no exact destinations, feeling hungry, cold, begging for people kindness along the route, an old man and a teenage girl … this scene has made me feel so sad.
It’s Nell’s pure love to her grandfather, her sacrifice, their super deep bonds which make the novel is so touching. It’s their attempts to survive and the deaths that make the book is sadder than “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy. For me, the death of the grandfather out of sadness is what the book way more sorrowful than the death of Tess. And overall, that what makes “The Old Curiosity Shop” is the saddest of all novels that I have read so far.