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Word Count: 910
Charles Dickens was born on February 7 1812 and spent the first nine years of his life living in the coastal regions of Kent a county in southeast England Dickenss father John a clerk in the Naval Pay Office was a kind and likable man but he was incompetent with money and piled up tremendous debts throughout his life When Dickens was nine his family moved to London When he was twelve his father was arrested and taken to debtors prison Dickenss mother moved his seven brothers and sisters into prison with their father but she arranged for the young Charles to live alone outside the prison and work with other children pasting labels on bottles in a blacking warehouse blacking was a type of manufactured soot used to make a black pigment for products such as matches or fertilizer Dickens already scarred psychologically by the experience found the three months he spent apart from his family highly traumatic Not only was the job itself miserable but he considered himself too good for it earning the contempt of the other children His father however rescued him from that fate and between 1824 and 1827 Dickens was a day pupil at a school in London At fifteen he found employment as an office boy at an attorneys while he studied shorthand at night His brief stint at the Blacking Factory haunted him all of his life -- he spoke of it only to his wife and to his closest friend John Forster -- but the dark secret became a source both of creative energy and of the preoccupation with the themes of alienation and betrayal which would emerge most notably in David Copperfield and in Great Expectations He eventually became a law clerk then a court reporter and finally a novelist His first novel The Pickwick Papers became a huge popular success when Dickens was only twenty-five Many of the events from Dickenss early life
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