In addition to numerous plays and poems, the prolific and legendary Victorian writer, Charles Dickens, penned a total of 15 novels, all of which remain every bit as beloved in 2012 as they were when first published in the 19th century.

A recurring feature of Dickens’ narrative was his desire to construct a voice for people in the lower classes of society. This empathy can be traced back to his own difficult childhood when he was forced to provide for his family by working ten-hour shifts in a factory for just six shillings a week after his father went to prison.

But with such a vast body of literary work to wade through, which of the great man’s stories were the most effective in bringing about social reforms in mid-19th century Victorian Britain?

A Christmas Carol
Few novels can be more powerful than, A Christmas Carol, the story of a how a man can change through the power of human goodness. Upon its release A Christmas Carol became so popular that it rekindled many Christmas traditions that had been distanced from society during Oliver Cromwell’s 16th century reign, while managing to popularise several new festive practices. The novel was also viewed as a sharp critique on the culture of greed that the wealth of industrial capitalism has brought during the early Victorian age. The power of this story resonates just as much today.

A Tale of Two Cities
With A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens ventured outside his usual social setting of British life to create a voice for the oppressed French peasants who were beleaguered by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the 1893 French revolution. The novel made Dickens more popular than ever and to date has sold copies in excess of 200 million.

Oliver Twist
Dickens’s story of a young orphan boy who lives in the midst of horrific poverty was instrumental in educating his middle-class readers about the conditions that London’s poorest residents were living in. It also gave the world some of the brightest and most memorable characters to ever grace a literary page.

Great Expectations
A frequent style of Dickens’s work is to write in the first person of a child who must defy overwhelming odds. The protagonist of Great Expectations, ‘Pip’ has to overcome such trials as he makes the transition from childhood to adulthood. Of all Dickens’ novels, this is perhaps the one in which the frequent theme of social class is most prevalent.

David Copperfield
David Copperfield is Dickens first novel to be written entirely in a first person narrative voice. It was also his personal favourite of all his works or the ‘child of his fancy’ as he referred to it. This is most likely because the novel bears so many resemblances to Dickens’ childhood, as well as several similarities to his later life.

Author's Bio: 

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, you can now purchase a range of limited edition Onoto pens, including the Pickwick fountain pen – with sterling silver fittings and a lifetime guarantee.