Natalie Kopp

Natalie Kopp

Natalie Kopp studied literature at St. Olaf College and now works as an editor and writing consultant in Columbus, Ohio. She first fell in love with Victorian literature in a bookstore, when picking up a copy of A Tale of Two Cities and reading the dramatic 118-word first sentence about living in a world that is both horrible and wonderful (“It was the best of times…”). Thanks to Jon Varese, Natalie first came to the Dickens Universe in 2012 and has returned four times since.


The Locksmith Dressing for Parade, illustration by Hablot Knight Browne

Mr. Haredale Defies the Mob, illustration by Hablot Knight Browne

The Rudges’ Peaceful Home, illustration by Hablot Knight Browne

Stagg’s Demand, illustration by Hablot Knight Browne

Grip’s Performance Copy, illustration by Hablot Knight Browne

43 Comments

  1. Hello Natalie, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about this section in Barnaby Rudge. You really helped me understand the historical context of the Dickens novel and how it all connects to the plot. What stood out to me was when you started talking about the vileness and also the humaneness of the rioters. My question to you is, do you think the humaneness of a person who enters a riot, due to false promise, slowly becomes viler like the rest of the rioters, or do you think that these people still have that humane quality kept within themselves?

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  2. Hello Natalie, thank you for the great insights of these chapters. You really went into why Dickens is writing all of these scenes, and the meaning behind them. It’s very interesting to see how Dickens puts very different characters into one place. Just like he did with Barnaby and those angry people that just wanted revenge and their voices heard. One questions I do have is if Dickens was critiquing those people who wanted to be rebellious for selfish reasons, and got others to join by not telling the truth, is that how many riots were back then, or even today? Are people actually joining for the causes of the movement or because of what they’ve heard it would do for them?

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  3. Thank you, Natalie, for your very detailed interpretation of Dickens’s work in Barnaby Rudge. I really liked how you introduced the video with the background information of Barnaby Rudge and how its one of Dickens first historical novels. What really caught my attention was that the rioters were mainly of the poorer class of London and that they only revolted to give themselves a voice to a country that avoids their plight. Do you think that Dickens is trying to critique the fact that people who weren’t of Protestant faith were being treated better than the people who followed the rules and religion of England?

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  4. Thank You Natalie for taking the time to do this video. Like you said, I have to agree that at this point in the novel we can see the historical factor that builds the momentum. Your video is helpful in a way that I can reflect on the chapters and go into debt when thinking of what is happening. I do have a question as well, you stated that Barnaby is the innocence around the corruption and greed of others, so my question is as someone who studied literature do you see different ways in which the writers place a characters a setting to build upon another aspect or factor in the story? In this case the innocent Barnaby being around the mob makes the mob stand out to a reader in a negative way.

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  5. Hi Natalie, thank you for your explanation on the riots within these past few chapters! I liked how you covered the topic of what the riots were made up of. While it may have started by these people who were going against a religious belief, it turned into a movement that included the lower class who wanted to have a voice against something as well. My question is: did these acts in place to help the Catholics seem as a threat to the Protestant which was what helped start the riots? Or like the lower class, did the Protestants feel like they had other issues they wanted to be heard and they felt that by going against the Catholics in a sense, they would get the most attention?

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  6. Hi Natalie, thanks for taking time to make the video and explain chapter 40-49, I found it really helpful. I found it interesting and helpful when you explained how Charles Dickens included non-fiction history into his novel. This was really helpful because it helped be understand what was going on in the novel. My question to you is, do you think that the people who joined the riots were actual supporters of the riot? Or were the people joining the riots individuals who didn’t support the riot but joined just so they can have a change in their society that was to their liking?

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  7. Hello Natalie!

    I like the way you touch on Barnaby Rudge and the way you compared him to the other malicious actors of the mob. I liked that you described Barnaby’s “valiant” act of joining the mob as innocent while you described the protesters as having “hate-filled bigotry.”

    Why do you think that now Barnaby finally becomes the center of attention now in this part of the book while during the previous serials, he took a backseat and was one of the side characters? It’s ironic that for the a good chunk of the previous chapters, the book was not even focused on the person who the book is named after.

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  8. Hey Natalie,
    Thank you for your explanation on Book Six, I found it very useful and interesting. I found very interesting how you explained the end of Book Six with Barnaby seperating from his mother to join the riots. Do you think Dickens seperated Barnaby from his mother to signify to loss of morals and individuality when a person joins a mob?

    Also, I also found it very interesting how you explained the laws that were created to let Catholics do more things. It made me realize how closely Dickens was focused and worried about these times in history.

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  9. Hello Natalie. Thank you for your explanation on book six and the historical context. I thought it was very interesting how important June 2nd, 178o because it is the day that Lord George Gordon brought a petition to reappeal the Catholic Relief Act.. This brings a large crowd of people and affects Barnaby and his mother. How does Barnaby getting tricked into thinking that he will be rich affect the relationship that he has with his mother? How does this uprising make people do impulsive decisions in their lives?

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  10. Hello Natalie,
    Thank you for your time into creating this video. The video was incredibly helpful. I liked the way you used the word “innocent” to describe Barnaby with his connection towards the riots through out the video. In constrast, to the rest of the mob that you described as “hate-filled bigotry.” It clearly displayed the fact that there are different type of people with different reasons that are participating in the riots. Whether that is to bring honor, or simply because they were brought in through lies. Nonetheless, I like to ask what do you believe is the point of Dickens showing backstories from all individuals in his novel. Is Dickens showing that people are losing their individuality much faster than they think to the readers?

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  11. Hello Natalie. Thank you for this helpful video, it really helped me understand the significant date of June 2nd, 1780, as well as understand the importance of the historical events mentioned throughout the novel. I found it interesting when you pointed out that Barnaby, “the symbol of innocence” was taken away from his mother. What does this specific moment say about riots during that time period?

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  12. Hello Natalie, thank you for taking your time to create this great informational video. It was great how you were able to explain the historical context of this novel. It is amazing how Dickens is able to use riots to create the different character to create different points of view of the no popery riots. How will Barnaby’s action of joining affect him mentally and how will it affect his relationship with his mother?

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  13. Thanks Natalie, for this amazing and interesting summary of Book 6, it made me understand the historical context Dickens used throughout his book. When you began to talk about the no popery movement, I was very intrigued as many people hated Catholics and everything they did, eventually starting the riots on June 2, 1780 with Lord George Gordon. Eventually Barnaby separates from his mother to join the riot which I find very interesting to hear because he wants change, but his mother is the opposite, she doesn’t want him involved. A question I have is How does Barnaby feel leaving his mother and how does Mrs. Rudge feel? Did Dickens place this part in the book to tell us something about mother-son relationships?

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  14. Hello Natalie, thank you so much for the helpful summaries. I really enjoyed how you not only gave the main point of the chapter but you went more in depth. My question for you would be how do you think Barnaby develops as a character after being involved in the riots even though it was all a trick to get more protesters?

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  15. Hey Natalie! Thanks for taking your time into making this video for us. It’s funny but at the same time really chaotic to have over 50,000-60,000 protesters join the no popery movement with Lord George Gordon. There is anger spreading from on individual to another within the riots. How is Barnabys mentally working or changing after joining the riots and thinking that he and his mother will get rich?

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  16. Hello Natalie,
    I appreciate you doing this for us. It really is very helpful for us to have a summary and the context of the book on what it is based upon. Especially when it includes big events. You not only gave the point of the chapter, but also went so very in depth with the riots and what caused them and the maybe effects of the riots. As well as how you stated that Dickens himself was a radical which was interesting. If anger, and discrimination or poverty were part of the reason why the riots happened, what other potential factors could there be? Maybe class division?

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  17. Hi Natalie thank you so much for this video! I really enjoyed the history you provided throughout your summary. The book itself brings up certain historical concepts, and I believe you did a great job at elaborating them and further explaining them. An example would be when you explained the Catholic relieve acts, and how they were meant to get rid of some of the restrictions. We have also done our own research on these riots to understand more in-depth what really is going on in these scenarios. This leads to my question, do you think that a person who knew absolutely nothing about these riots and did not do any research before reading the book, that they would experience these chapters the way we do? How important do you think it is to actually do independent research before reading books like these?

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  18. – Hey Natalie, thank you for the video on book 6. I found your comments on the group’s corruption of Barnaby’s innocence interesting, especially how it may show that the mob itself has other innocent people who have been fed lies. It led me to wonder and dive in deeper, especially since you stated Dickens interest in mobs, but also his disapproval of them and the violence they cause. Do you think that maybe Dickens is also criticising, maybe the government for lacking the competence to provide what satisfies all people, poor or rich? Do you think maybe Dickens blames the government or the people for the riots? Thanks.

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  19. Hey Natalie, thank you for breaking down Book 6 for us. There is a lot of things going on in Chapter 6 and one of the things caught my attention was all the hatred that was given to the government in the streets of London. It’s crazy to just imagine 50,000-60,000 protesters going crazy all at once but what is even crazier is how they were able to get the word across without the government finding out. nother caught my attention because I’m wondering to myself if this will have a big effect on Barnaby and make him think that he’ll actually gain something from this?

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  20. Hello Natalie.
    Thank you for this video that further explained chapter 40-49. A part that really caught my attention from this section was Barnaby’s enthusiasm to join the movement because he was tricked to believe it would help his mother. It makes me wonder, how far can Barnaby be manipulated using the love for his mother and his innocence? Also what other conflicts rise up from Barnaby being manipulated and his role in the riot and where does it leave him and his mother?

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  21. Hi Natalie,
    Thank you for taking time to make the video and explain the chapters of 40-49, which I found quite insightful.in I found it especially interesting in the way Charles Dickens incorporates more non-fiction aspects into the novel. I found this especially helpful to understand the context and background of the setting. My question to you is, in your opinion, where the participants of the riots that took place actually rioters per say or where they simply participating due to social norms or influence of mob mentality of others surrounding them?

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  22. Hey Natalie! Thank you so much for the video!
    To begin, I’d like to say that I really appreciate the historical context that you provide in the video! During this time period, as you mentioned, there was a lot of hate towards Catholics on behalf of the rioters. However, also as you mentioned, there were people like Hugh that joined the riots because they needed a voice and not because of their hatred for the Catholics. Do you believe that in today’s society, being a part of a collective that has values that don’t align with one’s own views can empower someone, as it did with Hugh in the 18th century?

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  23. Hello Natalie, thank you for creating this helpful and informative video. I enjoyed hearing your take on the riot that has been taking place these last couple of chapters. I found it very interesting when you talked about how Dickens novels have been influenced by radicalism and rioters. This makes me wonder how Dickens viewpoint will affect the outcome of the novel. So my question would be, how are the characters either influenced or moved in his writing due to Dickens radicalistic viewpoint?

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  24. Hey, Natalie! First, I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and information on Book 6! It was really helpful, especially because before you began to tie in the book, you have some historical context, which helped me a lot in order to establish a timeline and setting to the chapters 40-49. One thing that stood out to me was the big amount of hatred around this time, and the fact that no one felt like they had a voice, therefore they joined these protests/riots. On the other hand, Barnaby symbolizes “innocence”. But my question for you is how will that change over time if he Barnaby wants to join the riots? What will happen to his relationship with his mother ?

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  25. Hello Natalie, Thank you for this this amazing helpful video on book 6 of Barnaby Rudge. I found the connections you made about how the lower class perception of the ‘No Popery’ movement Contrast from that of how the parliament and Catholics see it extremely helpful and Intresting. It now makes sense why the Catholics and parliament memeber speak upon the ‘No Popery’ movement as if it was a horrible world-ending event, meanwhile, the lower class talks about it as if it was a wonderful expressive event for them. However, what was Dickens trying to allude about the society through this? Was he trying to show to the reader that exposing class-division was the true incentive behind the riots?

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  26. Hello Natalie, thanks so much for helping us have a better understanding on these few chapters of the novel, we really appreciate it. I really liked the fact that you pointed out how some of the lower class people used the riots to show their anger towards the government for ignoring them. I also liked to hear your insight of how some of the rioters joined the fight with false promises just like Barnaby thought he’d help his mom get rich. I do have a question for you, why do you think Dickens warns his readers about protests if he enjoyed writing about them so much?

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  27. Thank you Natalie for giving us a moment of your time to summarize these few chapters! Out of the many notes you pointed out, I was primarily intriguied by the part where you mentioned how there were different componenets that contibuted to the riots. Like you mentioned in the video, there was the side of the riots where it was fueled by anit-Catholicism hate and another side where people of lower class simply were tired of being ignored by their government and wanted to lash out by wreaking havoc. By accomplishing this destruction, do you think these people got what they wanted? Was Parliament aware of their efforts or was their intentions simply buried by the other, more prominent intentions of anti-Catholicism? I mainly ask this simple because I am curious as to whether these people, as you stated, simply wanted to lask out or if they wanted to actually send a message. Once again, thank you for your time!

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  28. Good evening Natalie, I hope all is well. I would like to start off by thanking you for time to make this video for us. I found it informative and interesting, rather than just information thrown at me. You truly helped me by mentioning the historical context. With the addition of historical context, I was able to use my history skills to help me reach an understanding. You mentioned how the people felt about Catholics during the time period and that historical context allowed for me to understand the status quo of the time. You allowed for me to think outside of the box and question the integrity of mobs. I came to the conclusion that mobs can be united for one purpose but can become twisted into something evil, I would like to ask however, Do you feel as if a mob or riot would work in today’s society, meaning have we become civilized enough to shoot down the idea of a mob, or are we still the people we were back then. Once again thank you!

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  29. Hello Natalie,
    Thank you for providing some background information on the no popery movement. It cleared up a lot of things and made a lot of the plot more understandable. It was interesting on how you touched the way Barnaby was portrayed to be this symbol of innocence that was being swept along by the violent crowd, Sending a message of what can happen because of these violent movements. My question is how do you think we can the lessons Dickens is trying to teach us in this passage and translate it to today’s society?

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  30. Hey Natalie. Thank you for inputting historical information about the context and history of the riots. It worked really well as a refresher and review. I really appreciated that you were able to add in Haredale’s line in regards to the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. Do you believe so many people went against the act or saw the movement as an opportunity to fight against their government? Not to long ago we went over the manipulation of Hugh and his participation in the movement/riots. It also seems to me that Barnaby was manipulated to think participation in the crowd would lead to riches. Do you feel that manipulation was drastically used on other supporters or people that participated in the association?

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  31. Hello Natalie, thanks for the video. I would like to add on to your insights into the “No Popery” movement. You mentioned that beyond the anti-Catholic bigotry there was a sentiment by the rioters of lower classes. These people, swept by the false promises of something better, joined the riots to have a form of expression. By inciting destruction of property like Catholic buildings and prisons, rioters transmitted a message of discontent toward the British government. Dickens, with riots, demonstrates radical thought supporting anti-status quo movements. Though, Dickens was also aware of the violence that riots brought to the eighteenth century society. I wonder, was Dickens’ intention to criticize human fallibility through mob mentality as a way of showing a detachment from individuality?

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  32. Hey Natalie. I really appreciated that you were able to add in Haredale’s line in regards to the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. Do you believe so many people went against the act or saw the movement as an opportunity to fight against their government? Not to long ago we went over the manipulation of Hugh and his participation in the movement/riots. It also seems to me that Barnaby was manipulated to think participation in the crowd would lead to riches. Do you feel that manipulation was drastically used on other supporters or people that participated in the association?

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  33. Good evening Ms. Natalie!
    First off, let me tell you how thankful I am that you took the time out of your day to create this wonderful, and helpful video for us! I really enjoyed how you gave us insight on the different motivations that different people had to actually participate in the riot. It’s interesting to see that many members of the mob had some ulterior and/or subconscious motives. Whether that be a legitimate hate for ‘Popery’ or a need to get back at the government for their own situations. So my question is this: Were people aware that everyone who participated in the riots was only in it for themselves, even Barnaby who thought he was going to achieve a better life for his mother and himself? Thank you and good night!

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  34. Hello Natalie and thank you for the explanation of chapters 40-49 along with the breakdown of the riots. I find it interesting that every simple character leads to a bigger meaning in the book. I also find it very interesting that Dickens makes it somewhat difficult to decide wether or not the rioting is truly for the greater good. What I’m wondering is, why are the rioters depicted negatively when they seperate Barnaby from his mother, when they’re supposed goal is for positivity and change?

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  35. Hey Natalie! I really appreciated that you were able to add in Haredale’s line in regards to the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. Do you believe so many people went against the act or saw the movement as an opportunity to fight against their government?
    Not to long ago we went over the manipulation of Hugh and his participation in the movement/riots. It also seems to me that Barnaby was manipulated to think participation in the crowd would lead to riches. Do you feel that manipulation was drastically used on other supporters or people that participated in the association?

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  36. Hello Natalie! I wanted to thank you for going more into depth of this part of the presentation, as it is helping me review and also understand the chapters (40-49) more. Within the video, you discuss the riots and the characteristics of the people in the riots. I tremendously find it intriguing how you mention that people of lower classes actually joined the riots because they were mad at the government, and this was there form of retaliation as they were destroying various things. This is because it seems to relate to how some people protest even today for more equal rights of lower classes. Furthermore, Dickens tremendously depicts the mob as a violent group at all times; thus do you believe that he is doing this to demonstrate how people as a crowd/ group act differently than as they are as individuals?

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  37. Hello Natalie!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to create this video for our class! I like that you covered the historical events Dickens wrote about beyond what goes on in the text, providing us with great background information. I think that it is so crazy that Lord George Gordon gathered up so many people to go against the British government. Especially since many, as you said, weren’t there for the matter at hand. They were just mad at parliament and decided it was a good time to lash out. Although they were mad at the government and it was their way of protest, do you think it shows ignorance on their part to join a movement they knew little about and might have not supported otherwise? Would you say the riots were a display of ignorance at all?

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  38. Hello Natalie, Thank you for the summary on Chapters 40-49. What I found interesting about what you said about George Gordon and him being an unhinged religious puritan. Do you think that maybe he had another intention to start a riot instead of the No Popery movement?

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  39. Hello Natalie, thank you for making this video that clarified my understanding thus far in Barnaby Rudge. It almost reminds me of a mystery because it feels necessary to research history in order to understand things that are happening and that is being hint at. My question to you is how do you think the riots will effect people psychologically and or physically? Thank you again!

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  40. Hello Natalie, thank you for that wonderful explanation of chapters 40-49. Throughout the chapter I know that there is many drama going on with sir John Chester, Mr. Haredal, and lord George Gordon. One thing that I really understood was how mr. Haredale had his own opinions that made him speak the truth about the riot that was happening that was following Lord George Gordon. One question I can ask if why did Lord George Gordon not like his opinion about his riot where he gave his orders to the people following him and how those people just jumped him. Like why? Anyways thanks for the details on these chapter!!

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  41. Hey Natalie, thank you for the clarification on chapters 40-49. Throughout the chapter, I realized that there is alot of issues or conflicts that are happening with Mr. Chester, Mr. Haredal, and lord George Gordon. One thing that I now understand is that Mr. Haredale has his own opinions that made him speak the truth about the riot that was happening in this time. One question I would like to ask is that why did Lord George Gordon not like his opinion about his riot, where he gave orders to the people following him and how those people just igniored him and assaulted him? Anyways, thank you for clarifying these few chapters for my classmates and I!

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  42. Thank you Natalie for your explanation go chapters 40-49. Your clarification of these chapters gave me a better insight and understanding of the occurring issues within these chapters. One point that you made that really stood out to me was about the crowd. I was pretty shocked at the fact that Gordon actually had along with him 60, 000 individuals in which joined this particular riot. The part that was interesting about this was that the majority of these individuals didn’t take part of the riots for the cause reducing discrimination against British Catholics but because they felt unheard by their government. I feel that this was a way for these individuals to stand out together so that they can be heard not only for the original purpose of the riots but also for all of the issues that were occurring in society as a whole. I wanted to ask if you believe that the fact that these individuals were unheard made the riots more climactic and chaotic?

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  43. Thank you Natalie! I personally really enjoyed your video, my favorite novels are historical novels and Barnaby Rudge has been teaching me a lot about English history. Do you think Dickens wanted us to see the two sides of this riot, meaning to Catholic and Anti catholic? Or did you think he favored one side more in the book?

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