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Word Count: 1,122
Charles Dickens was born at Landport in Portsea on February 7 1812 His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay-Office and was temporarily on duty in the neighborhood when Charles was born His name was John Dickens He spent time in prison for debts But even when he was free he lacked the money to support his family Then when Charles was two they moved to London Just before he started to toddle he stepped into the glare of footlights He never stepped out of it until he died He was a good man as men go in the bewildering world of ours brave transparent tender-hearted and honorable Dickens was always a little too irritable because he was a little too happy Like the over-wrought child in society he was splendidly sociable and in and yet sometimes quarrelsome In all the practical relations of his life he was what the child is at a party genuinely delighted delightful affectionate and happy and in some strange way fundamentally sad and dangerously close to tears At the age of 12 Charles worked in a London factory pasting labels on bottles of shoe polish He held the job only for a few months but the misery of the experience remain with him all his life Dickens attended school off and on until he was 15 and then left for good He enjoyed reading and was especially fond of adventure stories fairy tales and novels He was influenced by such earlier English writers as William Shakespeare Tobias Smollet and Henry Fielding However most of the knowledge he later used as an author came from his environment around him Dickens became a newspaper writer and reporter in the late 1820s He specialized in covering debates in Parliament and also wrote feature articles His work as a reporter sharpened his naturally keen ear for conversation and helped develop his skill in portraying his characters speach
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