AO2: What’s money? By Maryam Baig


How does the writer describe the thoughts and feelings of the characters? Support your answer with close reference to the passage including brief quotations.

The following extract “what’s money” is taken from the novel “Dombey and son” by the famous author Charles Dickens. In this extract Mr. Dombey has a conversation with his son, Paul, about money. He is a very wealthy and proud man but his son is weak and sickly. Paul’s mother passed away shortly after giving birth to Paul and he is an anxious lonely child.

The intended audience of this passage would be special interest groups such as people who enjoy Charles Dickens most likely young adults. For instance: “He would like to give him some explanation involving the terms circulation, currency, depreciation.” Here Paul asks his father to explain to him what money actually is or what is the purpose of it? Mr. Dombey was tempted to answer him with technical terms such as depreciation, circulation and so forth but instead replies with: “gold and silver and copper.” To dodge the question. This gains the readers’ attention and evokes strong emotional responses.

The tone of this extract semi-formal and conversational as it was written and published in the eighteen hundreds. For example: “presumptuous atom that propounded such an inquiry.” Here Mr. Dombey describes his son as tiny and stubborn. Another example could be “why didn’t money save me my momma?” Here Paul is asking his father if money can do anything why didn’t it help his mother escape death. The use of formal language gives the impression of authority and research which impresses the reader with information on the other hand the second example is not as formal as the first and does not include heavy words which is why it is accessible and familiar to the reader.

The author of this passage is “Charles Dickens” he is well known all around the world which is one of the reasons why the reader enjoys and is intrigued by his work.

The vocabulary used in this extract is heavy and unique. For instance: “the abrupt question had such immediate reference to the subject of Mr. Dombey’s thoughts, that Mr. Dombey was quite disconcerted.” Mr. Dombey was a rich man and the question ‘what is money?’ made him feel slightly uncomfortable. As a result the reader feels intrigued to read further and can be highly persuasive.

The style of this passage is narrative followed by vague description and dialogues. For example: “you know what they are?” Here Mr. Dombey asks his son whether he

knows what the physical form of money is while his son was actually asking what the purpose of money is. “Folding his arms and looking at the fire” this describes the manner in which Paul was sitting. It creates a smooth flow of words for the reader to read as well as induces emotion and produces an image in the readers mind.

In conclusion it is believed that the author has portrayed the characters thoughts and emotions evidently and brilliantly. Lessons like money cannot buy happiness can be taught and learned from this passage as well as the novel which invariably appeals to relate to our values and attitudes’ reminding us that money is merely a medium of exchange and cannot buy everything.

About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at or 03365287335 Happy reading!

Comments are closed.