Nicholas Nickleby is one of Dickens's best-loved comic creations. His story is both moving and funny, following the fortunes and misfortunes of an impetuous and high-spirited hero. Nicholas, along with his sister Kate, is left penniless and homeless by his father's death. He becomes a schoolmaster to make ends meet but is appalled by the conditions and regime of the Dotheby Hall. Following a fight he leaves for London taking with him Smikes, a half-starved pupil. A true champion of the weak, and now with Kate and Smikes under his wing, Nicholas constantly has to pit himself against Ralph, his devious and unscrupulous uncle, in order to survive .