Journal of the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences - Volume 17

Dickensʼs “A Confession Found in a Prison in the Time of Charles the Second”

Ichinose, Shimpei

Permalink :
JaLCDOI :  10.14943/jfhhs.17.15


Dickensʼs short story “A Confession Found in a Prison in the Time of Charles the Second,” set in the period of the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy, around the 1680s, depicts the narratorʼs conflict with his nephew. The narrator goes on to kill his nephew and is subsequently tormented by the child appearing in his dreams. It is noteworthy that the conflicting revenge relationship between the nephew and his uncle is also applicable to the relationships that existed between the kings of the settingʼs period and their nephew: Charles II (and James II) and their nephew William of Orange. In the latter part of the 17th century, in the Third Anglo-Dutch War, England (his uncle: Charles II) attacked the Netherlands (William); however, William later went on to invade England, ousting the English king (another uncle: James II) in the Glorious Revolution. This work, with its theme of nephew and uncle, is elaboratively set in the period between the two historical events involving the clash between a nephew and his uncles. This covert association of the story with the great revolution of England indicates that a positive and pivotal meaning might be lurking underneath this gloomy work. This essay argues that this work is enmeshed with Dickensʼs conflict between concealing his dark past, his labour in the blacking warehouse during childhood, and his resolve to confront and unearth the agonising memory in order to rise to greater heights as a writer.