Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Literary Studies: The Poor Traveler by Charles Dickens

by M. J. Joachim



Dicken's Dream, Robert William Buss (1804-1875) PD-US
According to legend, Dickens shares this story based on six poor travelers, who visited a charity on Christmas Eve, where they were treated to delicious food and goodwill. Toward the end of the evening, each traveler was invited to share a story, and The Poor Traveler was one of the tales told on that special Christmas Eve.

It is a rogue story, about a young man who lost his way and hoped to die, thus joining military forces in a town far away, with the intention of being shot in battle. Providence had other plans, instead causing the budding soldier to impress upon his Captain, a desire to save him from his wretchedness, which was not an easy task at all. As a result, a fast friendship developed, culminating in the youth’s meritorious rising in the ranks, in part for being such a faithful and loyal officer in his regimen, but also due to his continuously developed skill and military expertise throughout his career.

The Poor Traveler proceeds to take us on a journey through the friendship and military careers of both men, climaxing with the death of the Captain, followed by the lengthy grieving of his comrade, a broken man with still many more life lessons to learn, of which his Captain appears to teach him from the grave. Once again Charles Dickens yields the moral compass ever present in his literature, drawing us into a tale of agony, followed by victory, should the correct path triumph in the battle being portrayed within its pages.

An illustrious story is attended, one where readers and writers equally benefit from the subtle transitions and unspoken, yet clearly revealed, mysteries therein. Human honesty is shared within these pages, quite distinct from the story being told. This is one to ponder, reading between the lines, so that it infiltrates the heart, softening the soul and reminding each member of its audience that there is so much more to living than life itself, and each moment of our lives is never ours alone, because as much as we are individuals, we are also one in community with each other, and our actions, indeed our very thoughts and feelings, affect every person who crosses our path.

May our influence be strong, steady and above reproach, and should it be reproachable, may we learn our lessons well, graciously accepting lessons we are better to be taught.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. With every kindness and good will,

M. J.

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