Social criticism of charles dickens


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Dickens' social criticism

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Social criticism of charles dickens

  1. 1. Social criticismOf Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
  2. 2. The Victorian Era• Industrialisation• Urbanisation• Slums• Unhygienic conditions• The Poor Laws• Victorian tendency to regulate• Utilitarianism
  3. 3. The Victorian Era• Industrialisation leads to urbanisation.• Too may people flock towards the cities• Housing is very expensive• Overcrowding of available houses• Slums• …..these people had at least work.
  4. 4. The Victorian Era• The Poor Law (1834)• Protected the people who had money against higher contibutions• Made conditions in workhouses almost unliveable• More like a prison (uniforms; separate living for men, women, boys and girls)• Poor were regarded criminals (cf. debtor’s prison)
  5. 5. The workhouse
  6. 6. Charles Dickens• Father in debtor’s prison• Charles hated having to work in blacking factory• Aversion of the treatment of the poor• Aversion of the people who abused others• System itself not bad.• “Condition of England” novels
  7. 7. Oliver Twist • Born in a workhouse • Enters into “”this world of sorrow and trouble” • All the boys complain of having too little to eat. • One of them threatens to eat another boy. • “Please, Sir, I want some more.”
  8. 8. Oliver Twist is hungry
  9. 9. Oliver Twist - slums• Some houses which had become insecure from age and decay, were prevented from falling into the street, by huge beams of wood reared against the walls, and firmly planted in the road; but even these crazy dens seemed to have been selected as the nightly haunts of some houseless wretches, for many of the rough boards which supplied the place of door and window, were wrenched from their position, to afford an aperture wide enough for the passage of a human body. The kennel was stagnant and filthy. The very rats, which here and there lay putrefying in its rottenness, were hideous with famine. (Ch. 5, 44)
  10. 10. Hard Times – the school system• Schools were no fun place either:
  11. 11. Hard Times – at school
  12. 12. Charles Dickens• During the reign of Queen Victoria conditions slowly improved• Workhouses existed till WWII• Dickens’ writing was influential• The “Condition of England” novel exists till this day. (George Orwell, Martin Amis)