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Children Being Exploited in Dickensian Times

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Children Being Exploited in Dickensian Times All through the ages children have been exploited. Children are easy prey - they are innocent, feeble and trustworthy. Charles Dickens portrays children in a vivid and descriptive manner of hardship and death in Dickensian times. Dickens felt strongly that industrial life in the cities was creating unfair class divisions which would lead in the end to violence. Other novels such as Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby, ( the novels I shall be exploring ) in particular show how keenly Dicken's felt the wrongs done by adults to children. In the 1840's and 50's there was a fashion for looking at everything as if it was part of one logical system, where children were seen as imperfect adults and childhood itself a process called "upbringing or schooling." Behind this attitude lay a philosophy called utilitarianism - which stresses the practical usefulness of things. This meant that art and imagination, play and entertainment were not valued because they had no practical use. ...read more.


Also, we see by Squeers ability to spell that children are receiving a bad education from this man. Dickens makes known, in no uncertain terms, his feelings on the matter of children and how the school system that Mr. Squeers runs is exploiting and cheating the children through Nicholas Nickelby's final paragraph. It uses such emotive language that you can clearly empathise with children. " ...Led him ( Nicholas ) to be the aider and abettor of a system which filled him with honest disgust and indignation, he loathed himself and felt for the moment as though the mere consciousness of his present situation must, through all time come, prevent his raising his head in Society again." The second novel I shall deal with is probably one of Dickens' most famous novels, Oliver Twist. It is the tale of a young boy who is left in a workhouse as an orphan, without a friend in the world. ...read more.


The novel gives us no real indication of how hard Oliver worked or what his work involved except when it said, " So, you'll begin to pick oakum tomorrow morning at six o'clock." Apart from being an early start, from investigation I found out that " pick oakum" meant pull old rope apart for recycling - a dirty, laborious job given usually to convicts. Oliver runs away to London and is befriended by The Artful Dodger, who sees Oliver's naivety and brings him to a villainous old man named Fagin. " I know a 'spectable old gentleman as lives in London, wot'll give you lodgings for nothink, and never ask for the change." Oliver is yet again taken advantage of as he has never met this kind of friendship where someone such as the Dodger and Fagin are friends with Oliver because they can use him to further their own gains. Oliver is oblivious to the fact that what Fagin and his gang are doing is wrong. He is laughed at but doesn't see it, like when he makes innocent comments about wanting to learn the trade of making hankerchiefs. ...read more.

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