'So many of Dickens’ fictions start by dividing the world in two, with separate zones of goodness and badness. Then the engine of generosity starts to whirr. Villains often soften; hypocrites relent; misers melt. The more Dickens dwells on any character, the more likely it is to turn toward the light. The deepest urge in his imagination was to invite everyone to the feast of life (“you come too, Mr. Scrooge”), which is why the books conjure an immensity of food: so that there will always be more than enough of everything for everyone, especially enough laughter and ham and happy tears. At the end of the abundance that is Little Dorrit (1857), the newlywed protagonists (Arthur Clennam and Amy Dorrit) descend the steps of the church: “They went quietly down into the roaring streets, inseparable and blessed; and as they passed along in sunshine and shade, the noisy and the eager, and the arrogant and the froward and the vain, fretted and chafed, and made their usual uproar.” '