At the center of Martin Chuzzlewit is Martin himself, very old, very rich, very much on his guard. What he suspects (with good reason) is that every one of his close and distant relations, now converging in droves on the country inn where they believe he is dying, will stop at nothing to become the inheritor of his great fortune. Having unjustly disinherited his grandson, young Martin, the old fellow now trusts no one but Mary Graham, the pretty girl hired as his companion. Though she has been made to understand she will not inherit a penny, she remains old Chuzzlewit's only ally. As the viperish relations and hangers-on close in on him, we meet some of Dickens's most marvelous characters - among them Mr. Pecksniff (whose name has entered the language asa synonym for ultimate hypocrisy and self-importance): the fabulously evil Jonas Chuzzlewit: the strutting reptile Tigg Montague: and the ridiculous, terrible, comical Sairey Gamp.
Young Martin Chuzzlewit, a careless lad who is scorned by his tough and upright old grandfather, travels to America to seek his fortune. Dickens's satiric vision of America as a place full of criminals and disease alienated many of his American fans, but Martin survives his American ordeal and returns to England. He finds his grandfather in thrall to the evil Pecksniff and falls in love with Mary Graham. In the end, thanks to the wit of the wily old man and to Martin's inherent goodness, all is well: the evil are punished, the virtuous rewarded, and Dickens's usual wit and colorful cast of characters are much in evidence. Dickens pronounced MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT one of his favorites among his novels.
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- May 15, 2009
- May 15, 2009
- Charles Dickens