Dickens’ characters are so famous and well-loved that somebody once said they are more real than most real human beings.

One of the best known is the orphan, Oliver Twist: the first child protagonist in an English novel. Readers loved Oliver’s courage when he asked for more food in the orphanage and when he is forced into a life of crime with a gang of child thieves. The Artful Dodger, the leader of this gang, is another of Dickens’ colourful child creations. With his enormous clothes and charming manners he manages to steal all the valuables he wants. Although he’s a criminal, Dickens’ description makes him a favourite for readers.

Ebenezer Scrooge, on the other hand, is a character we love to hate. Protagonist of the famous A Christmas Carol, he is a villain who becomes a hero. After a life of cold, money-loving meanness, he repents one Christmas day and becomes generous and kind. One of Dickens’ strangest characters was the ghostlike Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. This old lady was abandoned at the church on her wedding day, many years before. She spent the rest of her life wearing her wedding dress with her wedding feast decaying around her.

Illustration by ​Anna + Elena Balbusso, taken from ​A Christmas Carol, by ​Charles Dickens​, Reading&Training, Step Four (CEFR B2.2)