Dickens took a dim view of London's preoccupation with materialism and commercialism -- even though he greatly empathized with the constraints that Londoners of the lower-classes felt.
Bob Cratchit, the poor but humble clerk in the office of Scrooge, serves as the representative of the impoverished but decent working class, with whom Dickens sympathized in the mid-1800s. However, like many of Dickens' characters, he is more fantastic than realistic. Dickens' idealism often had free reign (at least in his early works). Great Expectations, of course, reveals a London full of Londoners who fail to reach the heights of the humble Cratchit. But that novel also comes later in Dickens' career, and reveals a darker era in Dickens' own life, when the city of London seemed less likely to come to terms with its own corruption and spiritual decay.
In David Copperfield, the city of London is remarkably diverse and eclectic -- but still dominated by a monetary spirit. After all, as Michael Paterson (2011) notes, "During the years that Dickens knew it -- from 1822 to 1870 -- London was the largest city in the world," (p. 2) so it is only appropriate that it be filled with as many different characters as Shakespeare himself could only have devised. Yet, as many different characters as Dickens could find to populate his world of London, there is always that common thread that links them together -- economic slavery vs. spiritual slavery. Dickens' London is often a parlor where good and evil come toe-to-toe; where good must climb over the economic obstacles placed in his way and strive for a higher virtue than mere arithmetic. Schooling does not always count for much in Dickens' London, either. In Hard Times, the schools are filled with teachers who want to teach only "facts," (Dickens, 1854, p. 3) and have nothing but distrust for the imagination. The factories draw workers from the rural areas and enslave them in the machine of commerce. It is a treacherous world in Dickens' London and no one is safe. In fact, most places of business, including schools, are little more than confidence games -- and everyone seems a con man. Schools are one example of the con game that lives on in the city. Whether in the bungling grave robbers of a Tale of Two Cities, or the pickpockets of Oliver Twist, the London underbelly is full of unsavory characters who live in a kind of hand-to-mouth fashion because they can afford themselves no better avenue toward stability.
Part of the reason for such instability is, as seen in a Christmas Carol, the fault of the miserly monopolists -- the Scrooges of the city. Scrooge is saved from the error of his ways by means of three spirits, preceded by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley. Marley arrives on the scene weighed down by chains, and if Dickens' London could have any one single appropriate...
The death penalty was viewed as a tragedy (particularly because the London courts were notorious for corruption). Dickens reflects an entire system on the brink of collapse: the city of London is a prison out of which the good must climb. For this reason, all the good characters of David Copperfield leave London and set sail for Australia at the end of the novel. Heaven is not the city -- but a place far away from it, in fact.
In conclusion, the city of London in the novels of Charles Dickens is a murky place, dominated by "fog" (Dickens, 1853, p. 1) as described in Bleak House. In Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and a Christmas Carol, that fog is represented as a kind of financial shackle. In other words, in the novels of Charles Dickens, London is enshrouded by a gloomy spirit of consumerism and financial gain -- and it is a place that is perceived to be bad for the soul. Thus, Dickens has Scrooge convert from miser to charitable philanthropist; David escapes with his friends to another country; and Pip learns a spiritual lesson in the midst of the great battle between good and evil in Dickens' London.
Bacon, F. (1909). Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature. Essays of Francis Bacon (the
Harvard Classics). Retrieved from http://www.bartleby.com/3/1/13.html
Bishop, M., Green, M. (2009). Victorian Giving. Philanthrocapitalism. NY:
Diamond, M. (2003). Victorian Sensation. UK: Anthem.
Dickens, C. (1853). Bleak House. UK: Bradbury & Evans.
Dickens, C. (1850). David Copperfield. London: Bradbury & Evans.
Dickens, C. (1884). Great Expectations. Boston: Estes and Lauriat.
Dickens, C. (1854). Hard Times. UK: Bradbury & Evans.
Dickens, C. (1906). A Christmas Carol. UK: William Heinemann.
Gregory, J. (2011). Capital Sentences. Victorians Against the Gallows. Retrieved from http://theibtaurisblog.com/2011/12/08/capital-sentences/#more-682
Miltoun, F. (1903). Dickens' London. Boston L.C. Page & Company.
Paterson, M. (2011). Inside Dickens' London. UK: David & Charles.
The documents we provide are to be used as a sample, template, outline, guideline in helping you write your own paper, not to be used for academic credit. All users must abide by our "Student Honor Code" or you will be restricted access to our website.
Dickens and Hypocrisy An Analysis of Dickens' Use of Arbitrary and Hypocritical Societies in His Works Jerome Meckier observes that "David Copperfield's lifestory could have been included among the hymns to self-advancement in Samuel Smiles's Self-Help" (Meckier 537). While Smiles' work was about the virtue of perseverance, Dickens did more than merely provide a literary backdrop for the sanctimonious espousal of Romantic/Enlightenment era virtue. Dickens used, rather, the arbitrary and hypocritical societies
permissive attitude towards London sailor-town exist during the 1850-1860, and how did it change during the 1900-1910? The main Theories Fronted Although the marine community came from diverse backgrounds, the seafarers ashore had acquired a debauched image long before the 16th Century. The seafarers have won the appraisal of researchers for their role since then. According to Lee[footnoteRef:1], seafarers had delinked themselves from the usual expected bonds and roles in society
horror in the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is the four ghosts that appear to Ebenezer Scrooge. Apart from these however, there are also subtle elements that provide the novel with its particularly horrific atmosphere. Ebenezer Scrooge for example shows a mean-spirited and cold attitude, which appears to translate itself to his house, which is also cold and dark. The main character of the story is Scrooge, who displays an
The Revolutionary period and its effects and causes went beyond scores of years as highlighted by Dickens, but the major events of the French Revolution took place between 1787 and 1799 (Sorensen 6). During this period highlighted by Dickens, all the political power lay on the hands of the king as well as those people who owned the majority land, the clergy and the aristocracy. The vast majority of people
His clothes were untidy, but he had a commanding short-collar on." (Charles Dickens (1812-1870): (www.kirjasto.sci.fi/)Dora, David's first wife, expires and he marries Agnes. He seeks his vocation as a journalist and later as a novelist. (Charles Dickens (1812-1870): (www.kirjasto.sci.fi/) GREAT EXPECTATIONS in 1860-61 started as a serialized publication in Dickens's periodical All the Year Round on December 1, 1860. The story of Pip or Philip Pirrip was among Tolstoy's and
Great Expectations Dickens judges his characters not on social position or upbringing but on their treatment of one another Character, class and social status in Great Expectations The world in which Charles Dickens wrote was one in which class and social status was a determining factor in establishing the quality of an individual's life. Social status was an element of nineteenth century society, like the legal system, that Dickens continually exposed