Dickens as a Social Reformer
Examines how Charles Dickens encouraged social reform through the characters in "David Copperfield" and "Great Expectations".
# 64312 | 3,106 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2005 |
Published on Mar 05, 2006 in English (Analysis) , English (Comparison) , Literature (English) , Sociology (General) , History (British)
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Through his work, Charles Dickens called attention to the dilemma and the unfairness of life in the lower, and even the middle class, not with diatribes, but with clever plotting. This allowed comic characters to appear, as well as the truly evil ones, which brought a sense of recognition to his faithful readers. For purposes of exploring the means which Dickens used to provide characters to further social progress, this paper first explores some over-all conditions of the times of Dickens. It then specifically investigates the characters and viewpoints of two novels, "David Copperfield" and "Great Expectations".
From the Paper:"David at last is led to a better, happier, more secure life. It is obvious in reading about the children in many of Dickens' novels, that he sees the need for someone to "civilize" them, to keep them from turning into human representations of beasts. The scenes he paints in the characterizations of orphanages and schools for the poor turns some of the children into truly unlikable, even vicious imps. What is also alluded to, in the school scenes, although never definitively sketched out is the incidence of child prostitution in England in this era. For some young girls, it may come to a choice between prostitution or marriage to someone eligible."
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