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Written by Nicola Francisc
Referred frequently in the novel as Little Dorrit, Amy is the youngest member of the Dorrit family. Amy was born inside the debtors’ prison and at the beginning of the novel, she is a twenty year old woman. Despite her age, Amy seems like just a child and the other characters are usually shocked when they find Amy’ real age. From childhood, Amy was forced to work in order to provide for her father who was locked in the debtors’ prison. Amy is described as a humble person, excessively selfless who always puts the others first even if that means that she has to suffer. Amy is unable to adapt to a rich life after her father finds about an unclaimed fortune that would be theirs. Instead of being affected by the money her father came into, Amy continued to think about her old life and the way she used to live. Amy finds happiness at the end of the novel, when she marries Arthur.
Mr. William Dorrit
William Dorrit is Amy’s father, imprisoned in a debtors’ prison for most of his life. William Dorrit is unsure how he accumulated the debt that put him in prison but he was forced to remain there nevertheless. At the beginning of the novel, it is revealed that Mr. Dorrit is also known as the person who stayed the most in the debtors’ prison and this brought him some respect from the other inmates who used to bring Mr. Dorrit gifts. Despite his condition, Mr. Dorrit is an extremely proud man who believed that everyone else is beneath him. When Dorrit finds that he is actually rich, his proud nature only amplifies. Dorrit is a character who liked to victimize himself so that the other characters take pity in him and want to make him feel better.
Arthur is believed to be in the beginning of the novel Mrs., Clennam’s son. Arthur comes from a wealthy family and because of an engagement he had with someone his parents didn’t approved of, he was sent away from the country. Arthur is presented as a kind person, assuming the paternal role for Amy and trying to find a way to solver her family’s debts. Arthur becomes a business partner with Daniel Doyce but after a bad investment, Arthur loses both his money and Doyce’s money. Despite being offered a way out, Arthur decides to take responsibility for his actions and go to the debtor’s prison. At the end of the novel, Arthur agrees to marry Amy, unaware of her wealth and his true parentage
Fanny is also William Dorrit’s daughter and Amy’s older sister. Just like Amy, Fanny starts to work from an early age to help her father. Fanny becomes a dancer while her father is still in prison but hides it from her father knowing that he will not approve of her working. When Fanny finds that her father is rich, she quickly adapts to the new lifestyle and makes Edmund Sparkler fall in love with her and decides to marry him. Fanny’s decision to marry Edmure was driven by pride and not by love and because of this she is trapped in an unhappy marriage and an uninteresting society.
Daniel Doyce is a kind business man who becomes business associates with Arthur. Daniel is an inventor who tries to get the British government to patent one of his inventions but without success. At one point, Daniel leaves to Russia and leaves his company is Arthur’s care. Even though Arthur loses all the company’s money, Daniel is forgiving and even helps Arthur get back on his feet.
Mr. Merdle is a well-respected man in London and the father of Edmund Sparkler. Those who know Mr. Merdle all respect him and consider him to be an honest man. His reputation convinces many to give Mr. Merdle money who promises to invest those sums into safe businesses. One of the men who trust Merdle is Arthur who not only gives Merdle his money but Doyce’s money as well. Mr. Merdle kills himself after losing all the money he was supposed to invest and the truth about his wealth is revealed only after his death.
Mrs. Merdle is Mr. Merdle’s wife and Edmund’s wife. Mrs. Merdle is a proud woman who would do anything to make sure her son has a secure future. Mrs. Merdle tries at one point to bribe Fanny by giving her a bracelet in order to stay away from her son who was in love with Fanny. When the marriage between Edmund and Fanny become unavoidable, Mrs. Merdle slowly starts to change her idea about Fanny and even admits that Fanny is a pretty girl.
Mr. Nandy is Mrs. Plornish’s father, an old man who decided to go and live in a workhouse in order to help his family. Mr. Nandy chose to go to the workhouse, fearing that otherwise, he will become a burden for his daughter.
Edmund is Mrs. Merdle’s son. He is described as being incredibly easy to manipulate and not very bright. He falls in love with Fanny while she is still a dancer and tries to convince her to marry him but without too much success. After Fanny becomes rich, he continues to pursue her until she agrees to marry him. After the weeding, the couple moves back to London where Edmund starts working for the Government.
Mr. Chivery is John’s father and the turnkey in the debtors’ prison where Mr. Dorrit was imprisoned. He is thrilled to see that his son wants to marry Amy and starts to offer Mr. Dorrit small gifts, hoping that through those gifts, Mr. Dorrit will convince his daughter to marry John. After John is rejected, Mr. Chivery starts to treat Mr. Dorrit with indifference and complains about the money he spent on gifts for Mr. Dorrit.
Mrs. Chivery is John’s mother and the turnkey’s wife. She is happy to see her son pursue Amy and encourages him in the beginning. Just like her husband, she changes drastically after John is rejected and thinks excessively about the money she and her husband spent on gifts for Little Dorrit and her father.
Flora is a woman in her forties, a widow who lives with her parents in London. In her youth, she was Arthur’s fiancée but because Arthur’s parents disapproved of the relationship between the two, the engagement broke. After her husband’s death, Flora remains somehow mentally unstable and stuck in the past, still thinking that there is a relationship between she and Arthur.
Flintwinch is an old servant working in Mrs. Clennam’s house. He is married and developed the habit of beating his wife for no reason at all. Flintwinch betrays Mrs. Clennam when he gives his twin brother the real paper containing details about the money Amy was supposed to receive from her. At the end of the novel, he runs away with the money he stole from Doyce’s company.
Rigaud is a Frenchmen who appears in the first chapter of the novel as being imprisoned in Paris for murdering his wife. Rigaud is presented as the most evil type of men, ready to kill just to get what he wants from those around him. Rigaud helps Miss Wade keep a close eye on the Meagles family and tries to blackmail Mrs. Clennam . Rigaud dies in Mrs. Clennam’s house when it collapses.
Mrs. Clennam is an old bitter woman who likes to punish the others and herself. She hides the truth about Arthur’s true parentage and also the fact that one of her relatives let the Dorrit family money. Mrs. Clennam is a religious person who is cold towards those around her. At the beginning of the novel, she is presented as an invalid woman, stuck inside her house, only to be revealed that it was all an act and that she was healthy all along.
Affery is a kind woman who is a servant in Mrs. Clennam’s house. She is constantly abused by her husband and this makes her live in fear in a house where she hears strange noises. Affery tries to get Arthur to help her without realizing that Arthur has no real power in Mrs. Clennam’s house.
Pet is the beautiful and spoiled daughter of Mr. Meagles. Her beauty attracted Arthur but she chose Gowan to be her husband. Her marriage ends up being an unhappy one.
Cavalleto is a prisoner who shared the same cell with Rigaud for a short time in Paris. Cavalleto and Rigaud are complete opposites, Cavlleto being kind and good. Cavalleto takes the name Mr. Baptiste after he goes to England and becomes friends with Arthur.
Tattycoram is an orphan girl adopted by the Meagles family. Despite being offered the oportunity to live in a wealthy family, Tattycoram is unhappy by the way the Meagles family treats her and decides to run away with Miss Wade. At the end of the novel, she returns to her adoptive family.
Mrs. General is a governess hired by Mr. Dorrit after he became which. Mrs. General was supposed to help Amy and Fanny adapt to their new financial situation but she was unable to change the way Amy behaved. She is presented as a strict woman, with old ideas who can’t adapt to the changing world she lives in.
Mrs. Gowan is Henry’s mother, a proud woman who likes to think that she is much richer than she is in reality. At first, she opposes her son’s marriage with Pet and after the wedding, she continues to tell everyone that her son didn’t want to marry Pet and that they are unhappy because of Pet.
Henry is an artist who marries Pet, the daughter of a wealthy family. Their marriage soon proves to be a disaster and he blames his wife for their unhappiness.
Miss Wade is an enigmatic character, a single woman who convinces Tattycoram to leave her adopted family and run away with her. Miss Wade is the one who played Blandois to follow the Meagles family, vaguely aware of his criminal past.
Mr. Casby is Flora’s father and also the person who takes the rend money from those living in the Bleeding Hart Yard. He is a cruel man, interested only in the money he can get from those living in the Yard.
Pancks is the man who gathers the rent money for Mr. Casby.
Plornish is one of Amy’s friends living in the Bleeding Hart Yard with his family.
He is Plornish’s father who lives in the Bleeding Hart Yard. He is a good friend with the Dorrit family.
She is Mr. Plornish’s wife.
John is the son of the turnkey in the prison where Mr. Dorrit is imprisoned. He falls in love with Amy and he even proposes to her but he is turned down by Amy.
In the first chapter, he is the jailer who comes and brings food to the two inmates and information about their trials.
The jailer’s daughter
The jailer who appears in the first chapter is accompanied by his four-year old daughter.
Tite is a government official who refuses to give Arthur a clear answer regarding Dorrit’s debts.
Maggie is one of Amy’s friends from the debtors’ prison. Maggie is a gentle girl, not too intelligent who is protected by Amy.
Lord Decimus in an important political figure invited at Merdle’s party. Through Lord Decimus, Merdle is able to find Edmund a place to work.
Frederic is Lord Decimus’ s private secretary.
Bar is a lawyer who is present at the party organized by Mr. Merdle. Bar is also the person who delivers the news of Mr. Merdle’s death to his wife.
Mr. Rugg is Panck’s landlord.
Miss Rugg is Mr. Rugg’s daughter.
Clarence Barnacle is Tite Barnacle’s son.
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Sorry - this should say "from Arthur's birth mother" not "her birth mother". Also, to be more specific, I am questioning why she doesn't claim the inheritance after Arthur finds out who his real mother is. Is he not...