Some Functions of "Utopian Business" Motif in Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
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The article aims at presenting some of the functions of the "utopian business" motif represented by the Cheeryble Brothers in Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, as well as indicating some of the ways in which the utopian dimension is achieved. Shown in comparison with other Dickensian companies, the Cheeryble Brothers seems unique. The uniqueness lies in the fact that in the majority of cases the firms are destructive forces in the novels whereas employment in the brothers’ company equals the highest happiness possible. The firm is an ideal, almost symbiotic merger of private and business lives of the characters, moving it to the realm of utopia. The functions of the "utopian business" motif are numerous. The company is seen as the centre of goodness in the novel and the antithesis of evil represented by Ralph Nickleby and Squeers. The motif ends the picaresque element in the novel by providing the main character with proper financial stability which in turn enables him to support his family and seek for emotional stability. At the same time it reinforces the fairy-tale convention in the novel where the brothers, through their helpful attitude, act as good uncles of other characters. From a different perspective, the "utopian business" motif is used to advocate the idea of self-help and charity thus indicating the cultural model of the world based on the Christian in a general sense, and Puritan in a narrower sense, ethics.
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