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Life for victorian children in Dickens' time

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How literature, in particular Charles Dickens, presents a picture of life for children in Victorian times - Pre 20th Century I am going to examine the hardships endured at home, in institutions and in society of children in Dickenson times. At this time poverty and cruelty was rife and commonplace in society, institutions which were supposed to care for children, exploited and abused their authority over them. These institutions were run by greedy, corrupt hypocrites, whose only main interest was making money, and usually exploiting the children at their disposal to make the money they so desired. We also see cruelty and neglect in domesticated situations, parents and guardians taking their children for granted, or not appreciating them. In my exploration I will be using the novels, "Oliver Twist" and "Great Expectations". Dickens understood the life and hardships of children because he himself had a difficult childhood; he never forgot the experience of poverty and misery. For us to comprehend the times of Charles Dickens it is necessary to know the background of his life. Dickens was born in 1812; his father was clerk working for the Navy Pay office, so even at an early stage in his life he had an opportunity to see life along the Thames and the Docks of London. ...read more.


Later on the novel, we meet the character Fagin, he is another who exploits children, in this case, he forces them to risk persecution by the law to steal for him, in order to make himself wealthy, this section of the book tells us of a world that the children run, different to the normal society. Fagin calls his children 'students', he does however treat them differently than the workhouse previously did. He rewards them when he is pleased with their performance treating them with money or food, however, when is not satisfied with their performance he attitude changes dramatically. He would: "Expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits" He would also inflict violence on the children as well; an example of this is when he knocked the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates hurtfully down the stairs. This example of exploitation is an abomination, there is not a sense of hypocrisy in Fagin's den as there was in the workhouse, Fagin does not pretend to be a just and law-abiding citizen, as there are a degree of humanity in Fagin's actions, as the children seem to prefer Fagin's den to the drudgery of the workhouse situation. ...read more.


In my opinion I think that this passage shows us how shockingly children where victimized in Dickenson times, just for being a mere few years younger than there oppressors, this passage demonstrates how unfairly the children where treated in these times, at the time in the passage everyone is supposed to have a fair an equal share as it is the season of Goodwill. Dickens writing skill of describing the situation and characters in it helps to show us how Pip feels out of place and how he does not look forward to Christmas, this allows us to emphasize with Pip, and put ourselves in the situation he is in, it also comes across in the writing that Dickens empathises with Pip as well. To conclude, I feel that Charles Dickens writing portrays the children as little heroes, who are forced to suffer unnecessarily at the fault of adults during the Victorian times. The Children are presented by Dickens as the most honest and caring creatures in a hypocritical society. Dickens use's his writing to tell his audience that in these times children are entitled to enjoy life as any adult would, not made to suffer because they are younger and smaller. ?? ?? ?? ?? David Scullion S2D ...read more.

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