Dickens and the Daughter of the House

Synopsis

The daughter in Dickens' fiction is considered in this study not as an emblem of tranquil domesticity and the hearth-fire, but as a bearer of cultural values--and as a potentially disruptive force. As the good daughters in his novels (Little Nell, Agnes Wickfield, Esther Summerson, Amy Dorrit) must leave the father's house and enter the wider world, so they transform and rewrite the stories they are empowered to tell. The daughter's secret inheritance, her "portion," is to give Dickens a way of reading and writing his own culture differently.