chapter  2
38 Pages

Dombey and Son

Dombey and Son seem to be positioned precisely at the point of congruence between the Winnicottian and Lacanian understanding of the maternal gaze. Motherhood in Dombey and Son is indeed deadly as Dombey's regression into dependency and second-childhood reveals. Predictably Dombey and Son presents an ambivalent portrait of fatherhood, for it was towards the end of its composition that Dickens began the autobiography that disinterred 'the secret agony of soul' associated with his period of employment at Warren's factory. The threat of shipwreck pervades Dombey and Son metaphorically as well as in actuality. In a letter to Forster dated 25 July 1846, Dickens provided a remarkably accurate synopsis of the projected plot of Dombey and Son. Dombey and Son has long been regarded as the turning-point in Dickens's career, indeed Gabriel Pearson regards it as a work designed expressly to create its author: With Dombey, Dickens ceased definitively to be Boz, the old, popular Inimitable.