Nell’s grandfather; a shocking picture of one’s loss against ill-wills

If you have read “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens you may resume reading this but if you haven’t, I suggest you shouldn’t because this post contains the most shocking, the most terrible sample of one’s struggle against ill-wills.

What I will talk about can be read in the 9th paragraph of this link: .

Nell’s grandfather addiction to gambling is the source of all their misery. Apart from Daniel Quilp’s wickedness, Nell’s grandfather is the one who should take the blame for their impoverishment. I am really, really shocked when I find out how he holds his belief that gambling is the best shortcut to wealth even after he and Nell runs from the shop-cum-house.

My feelings are mixed up when I read the part.

On one side, as I said earlier, I am astonished with the fact that his addiction remain strong, so strong that Dickens describes the old man’s eyes sparkle when he hears the sounds of some people playing cards as one of the gambling method. It feels like the old man’s life spirits come back.

On the other one, I as a reader, am happy because coming to the part wakes me up from the previous reading journey that almost bores me, honestly. Prior to the part, most plots are about their trips and sorrowful stories all along the path that they take. So, this part, particularly on the point when he steals Nell’s money, refreshes the reading process.

I give credits to Dickens who is able to raise my anger to this old man. I can’t believe what he does to his own granddaughter who rescues his life that far. It doesn’t make sense for me to know there is an old man who is so beaten up that he takes away essential things that Nell saves just to keep their stomachaches filled. The scene when he forces Nell to give her purse when he is about to join a group of gamblers at the inn is really frustrating, makes me so furious. It’s like, how could he?

Later on, I try to take a bigger picture on all this. As usual, as a reader of classics which sometimes portray unthinkable characters, I have to view things by using a lot of parameters; psychology, economic, social, etc, which helps me understanding what he does. The fact that they are both poor though Nell actually has a job as the assistant of the wax-working owner doesn’t make him any less happy. He has problems much more than just making ends meet or paying off his debts. His addiction, self-battle against wrong deeds is the root of all his restlessness, whether or not he realizes it. The peak of it all by taking Nell’s money away, not admitting on what he does is more than enough to sum it up with one word: what?

Sadly, Dickens doesn’t say much about this old man annoying trait and his gambling addiction. This topic is out of the plot after Nell successfully persuades her grandfather to leave the wax-working caravan so as he won’t meet with the gambling group, again. It would be more interesting if Dickens adds explanations on the old man’s bad habit. Because for me, it doesn’t really all about the way of making him rich instantly but it tells more about the old man’s personal problems.

If there were any one ask for my opinion what lacks in the novel, I would say about that thing; that Dickens hasn’t really finished or solved the psychological matters that cause the old man so addicted to gambling. Such important matter ends loosely with the finale that sees him dies in the graveyard of Nell’s. After all the torments that he brings about since the beginning of the book, it remains heartbreaking seeing him feeling so gloomy after her death. The fact that he realizes Nell is all that he has in the world and how he no longer argues her decisions as the book comes to its end is I think the most proper reprisal he could have done to pay off his wrongdoings.

Dickens’ way to make readers forgive what the old man has done? May be.







“The Old” topples “Tess” as the saddest novel, by far

novel and dry flowers

thank you for the picture

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.




“The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens (Part 4-The End)

Mr. Brass Simpson and Miss Sally Simpson are two siblings who handle the legal case of Mr. Quilp and Nell’s grandfather. These siblings are unique, they are very close, and especially for Sally, she has been fond of law ever since she was a little kid. And although her brother is the chief of their legal house, Brass was like the second-person of his company while his sister was like the head. Mr. Brass completely depends his action on her advice.

Mr. Quilp advises they employ Richard Swiveller or nick-named as Dick as the clerk of the company. By the way, the siblings also own an apartment who one day receives a fortune by the coming of a single gentleman. The siblings also employ a young girl as their servant.

This single gentleman, truth be told, is on the search for the whereabouts of Nell and her grandfather. He looks for Kit then sets a journey with Kit’s mother to find the girl and her grandfather. They come to a wedding that sees the unison of the waxing-work woman and her new husband. Unfortunately, Nell and her grandfather has fled.

Nell unexpectedly overhears the dialogue between her grandfather and some guys he plays gamble with in the inn. She is shocked to have known that her grandfather gets addicted to the game and he will ask for money from Nell. She attempts to rescue her grandfather so one night she lies to him, saying that she feels they should be going and leave the waxing-work caravan based on a bad dream she just has had.

The grandfather nods to her advice anyway despite his confusions about the dream. So they embark on a journey again. They meet a group of men who take them crossing a river into a new land. They barely have nothing to eat, Nell feels sick and gets so cold. Thankfully, they meet a guy who takes them in a house of labor which sees a number of men working. Nell and her grandfather, after taking a one-night rest there, resume their journey and they are so very lucky to have met the schoolmaster whom they previously meet, again.

How happy Nell is. The schoolmaster says he is offered to work as a schoolmaster in a more far away place but with much better payment plus two houses, one of which later belongs to Nell and her grandfather. Nell can’t be merrier with all these news. She is overwhelmed for she is finally able to taste sweet parts of her life; having a house which actually an old, dusty one. She has good neighbors who are so fond of her. She has new friends, whom are the students of the schoolmaster. And she has garden to take care of. In short, she lives a very nice place in the new surrounding, many people like her and vice versa.

Anyway, after the failure of discovering Nell and the grandfather, Kit’s mother openly declares her hatred for Mr. Quilp. This fact makes him dislikes Kit and his mother then asks for the help of the Simpsons to ‘banish’ Kit. So it goes. Mr. Brass Simpson creates a plot that entraps Kit. He is found guilty as the thief of the Simpson’s money then is put into jail. Not long after he is transported to a remote place, Dick is later dismissed from the job under the request of Mr. Quilp. Dick gets fainted and for a few weeks is taken care by the servant.

The truth is eventually revealed thanks to the servant’s confessions. According to her witness which is seen through key holes in the office, Mr. Brass Simpson is the actor of all that. He is later detained for all that he does. He and her sister also inform that Mr. Quilp is the man behind the crime.

So, Mr. Quilp sets to run away from the police. He prepares to leave the wharf when he heard some knocks. It’s too late for them to catch the dwarf for he has been on the escape. Alas for him! The weather is not good, the storm engulf him, his body hits the rocks and is later swollen by the mud. His body is found on a swamp. There’s a speculation he commits a suicide.

After it has been known that Kit is innocent, he gets back to his family, receives a very warm welcome not only from his own family but also from his employers. He and Barbara, the servant in the Mr. Garland, is now a couple. Kit, the single gentleman, Mr. Garland sets a journey to look for Nell and the grandfather. Their whereabouts have been disclosed finally thanks to a letter from the Bachelor, one of Nell’s new neighbors, who no other than Mr. Garland’s brother.

So they go. During the journey, the single gentleman confesses that he is the old man’s brother who has been separated for so long. They find the old gentleman eventually but not as what they quite expected.

The old man is seen sitting alone, he seems ignorant when he sees Kit. Even when the single gentleman tells that he is the old man’s lost brother, the old man denies the fact for all that he has is Nell. But Nell, as the old man says, sleeps so peacefully. When the old man leaves the travelers, some sobs are heard for Nell has been dead for two days.

That beautiful, kind, innocent, tender, warm girl has finally rested in peace, leaving sorrows and unforgettable memories for those who love her so dearly. The old man seems to have lost his sanity, he can’t accept the truth, he goes to Nell’s grave so often that one day the old man dies there, too.

The fates of minor characters as follow:

Dick and the servant gets married after she gets a proper education. Dick is now a wealthy man for he gets a heritage from his rich relative.

Sally gets punishment for what she does for she loses her reputation in the society.

Kit and Barbara gets married, raise some children. Kit tells them the story of the good-hearted Nell.

The single gentleman treasures the very long journey of Nell and her grandfather. He meets the guy at the house of labor, for instance.

Though Nell and her grandfather have passed away, their good names remain alive in the hearts of those who love and respect them.


“The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens (Part 2)

nell and her grandfather

thank you for the picture

This is what Mr. Quilp does to make ends meet: “…. collected the rents of whole colonies of filthy streets and alleys by the waterside, advanced money to the seamen and petty officers of merchant vessels, had a share in the ventures of diverse mates of East Indiamen, smoked his smuggled cigars under the very nose of the Custom House, and made appointments on ‘Change with men in glazed hats and round jackets pretty well every day.”

He is a very authoritative man including in the family. When he orders, his wife must obey. One day, when he is on the wharf, Nell comes and brings a letter from her grandfather. The dwarf gets irritated after reading the letter then inquires her. The little girl admits she doesn’t know at all about it and all the letters that she convey from the both.

Despite his anger, he seduces Nell, admiring her look that day and frankly wanting her to be his next wife after Mrs. Quilp. Although he says those half-jokingly, Nell feels uncomfortable. All of the closeness that she used to feel now crumbles.

But Nelly is a good friend of Mrs. Quilp and the girl tells the latter the greatest change that happens to the grandfather. Mrs. Quilp, under the command of her husband, inquires Nelly to open her secret which is successful by the end. The grandfather has lately been very restless, his face looks pale, frequently goes away at nights. It seems that he carries a huge burden over the shoulder. Nelly is then greatly influenced for the joy or the sorrow of her grandfather means so much for her.

Mr. Quilp is pleased with Nell’s confessions. After Nell returns from Mr. Quilp’s residence, she and the grandfather has a dialogue that sees him telling what happens to him recently. Nell encourages him to leave the place. Nell argues that as long as they go together they can be happy regardless having no clues on their destinations. She doesn’t mind of them turning into beggars as long as the grandfather returns as a happy person like he used to be.

As they agree on the plans, Mr. Quilp appears on their home. He immediately corners the grandfather on the whereabouts of his money; on why none of them is returned back. Mr. Quilp knows all of the secret that all of the money whom he is promised as an investment is instead gone to the gambling-table. The grandfather never wins any of the games and Quilp’s money is all wasted. Mr. Quilp feels he has been deceived by the grandfather as the latter is known to be a rich person with a good reputation. When the grandfather asks for Mr. Quilp who tells the secret, Kit is the name that he mentions despite the fact that it is Nell who says it all in her admission to Mrs. Quilp.

Since then, the grandfather hates Kit despite all of his kindness and obedience. He even forbids Nell to meet Kit again. Their life becomes so miserable as Mr. Quilp now owns the house in exchange of the debts the grandfather owes him.  Worse, Nell and the grandfather are banned from leaving the place. Nell insists on her plans. So when the lawyer that is hired by Mr. Quilp to settle the debt and such is in his deep slumber, Nell sneaks out to one of the rooms when the house’s key is kept.

So off they go, nowhere to be seen anymore.