Dombey and Son Themes & Motifs

This Study Guide consists of approximately 94 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Dombey and Son.
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Parent Child Relationships

In his exploration of multiple evolving parent/child relationships, Dickens explores the changing roles of parents and children, suggesting that families are defined by the love they have for each other, not blood or name. Moreover, Dickens insists that children forced to fulfill expectations defined by their parents are destined to misery and failure. Parents, parent figures, and children owe each other love and nothing more.

Parents in this novel are not always related to their children by blood or name. Children frequently find worthy, lifelong parent figures outside of their families when their own parents are dead or unavailable. At the very beginning, we see newborn Paul bonding with his wet nurse, Polly, after his mother dies. Though Dombey forbids Polly to become attached to Paul, the intimate relationship they share makes it impossible. Though she only nurses him for a few months...

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This section contains 3,089 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Dombey and Son Study Guide
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