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The Poor Relation's Story

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by

Drew Edsell

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of The Poor Relation's Story

The Poor Relation's Story
By Charles Dickens

Summary
Group of people gathered together for Christmas
Each is sharing tales and the main character is asked to go first
He starts by saying "I am not what I am supposed to be."
He then goes on to talk about his life's failures.
He describes his living situation, his daily routine, and his general loneliness.
Literary Devices
Frame Tale - Narrator telling the story of Michael (the poor relation) telling his own story
Imagery - "...colder in my uncle's unwarmed house than in the street, where the winter sun did sometimes shine..."
Symbolism - The Castle in the Air symbolizes the man's imagination.
Simile - "...my garret chamber was as dull...as an upper prison room..."
Characters
The Poor Relation (Michael) -
He is an older man, nearing elderly status
No wife or children
No wealth
No success
No friends
All of this seems to be because of his kind, generous, and slightly naive nature. He has a vivid imagination in that he imagines everything that went wrong in his life to have gone perfectly. He could be living in a state of denial, he could be insane, or he could simply be lonely.
He represents wishful thinking.
In a turn he says that the assumptions of his life are all false
He then retells his life changing all his failures into success
He has money, a wife, children, friends, and a home he refers to as "a Castle."
When one of the other guests ask where his "Castle" is he replies, "My Castle is in the Air!"
Uncle Chill:
He is Michael's uncle.
He is very rich and very avaricious
Is unhappy when Michael decides to marry.
Kicks him out
He is depicted as a miserable man who is never satisfied with what or how much he has so he penny pinches. He also has high expectations for Michael, wanting him to become rich as well. Everything about him is cold and dark, from his manner to his house.
John Spatter:
Ex Business partner of Michael's.
He is also the host of the gathering.
He tricked Michael out of his business and any potential earnings.
In Michael's imagination he is a thankful man and supportive of Michael's decisions.
In reality John Spatter is a conniving, manipulative man who began using and abusing Michael's kindness when they were in school together. Take the fact that Michael was invited to a party of John's years after he stole his business also shows that he proud and wants to put on display how much better off he is than Michael.
Christiana:
In Michael's tale she is his wife.
In reality she rejects him when he is penniless.
She marries a rich man at her mother's urgings.
Christiana is portrayed as loving Michael unconditionally, even to the point that she refuses to wait for him to gain money before marring him. In Michael's true life as soon as she and her mother find out he has no money or prospects any notion of marring him is abandoned. Instead Christiana is influenced and urged by her mother into a marriage with a much richer man. This show's her as greedy and easily controlled.
Full transcript