Goroo!

I think that the best characters in any Dickens novels are the unimportant ones. The ones that turn up for a page or two, the ones that could easily have been edited out but weren’t. The main characters drive the plot along but these characters provide the colour.

For example, no spoilers but at one point David Copperfield needs to sell his coat and finds a shop that might buy it from him. David is quite nervous anyway but is terrified when he sees the shop’s owner.

He was a dreadful old man to look at, in a filthy flannel waistcoat, and smelling terribly of rum.

Now, I’m not totally sure whether this man is just supposed to be a drunk or is ‘mad’ (in the Victorian sense of the word), but he spends a few paragraphs saying things like

Oh, my lungs and liver, what do you want? Oh, goroo, goroo! […] Oh, my heart on fire, show the jacket to us! Oh, my eyes and limbs, bring the jacket out!

The character is in no way necessary to the plot but you know what? He’s still my favourite. Largely pointless but a lot of fun, like many of the best things in life.

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3 thoughts on “Goroo!

  1. Deemed unnecessary characters are important. They flesh out the story. They prevent the main characters from seeming one-dimensional. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely true in general and particularly true for Dickens – I’d say his main characters are usually pretty uninteresting but the minor characters can be an absolute joy.

      Like

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