Friday, July 25, 2014

Victorian Poverty and Oliver

Not all Victorian's had a middle or upper class life, there were many who were in poverty and homeless...

- The workhouse was adopted in 1834.
- The family unit was so important because there was no backup.
- Many paupers were dissected as a learning measure for medical students.
- There were over 7,000 illegitimate births a year in the workhouses
A good depiction of the differences in class levels during Victorian England is Oliver, written by Charles Dickens.

The movie description:
"The story is about an orphan, Oliver Twist, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, leader of a gang of juvenile pickpockets. Naively unaware of their unlawful activities, Oliver is led to the lair of their elderly criminal trainer Fagin.

Oliver Twist is notable for Dickens' unromantic portrayal of criminals and their sordid lives. The book exposed the cruel treatment of many a waif-child in London, which increased international concern in what is sometimes known as "The Great London Waif Crisis": the large number of orphans in London in the Dickens era. The book's subtitle, The Parish Boy's Progress, alludes to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress and also to a pair of popular 18th-century caricature series by William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress and A Harlot's Progress.

An early example of the social novel, the book calls the public's attention to various contemporary evils, including child labour, the recruitment of children as criminals, and the presence of street children. Dickens mocks the hypocrisies of his time by surrounding the novel's serious themes with sarcasm and dark humour. The novel may have been inspired by the story of Robert Blincoe, an orphan whose account of hardships as a child labourer in a cotton mill was widely read in the 1830s. It is likely that Dickens's own early youth as a child labourer contributed to the story's development."

1 comment:

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

What a really great post. I have always loved learning more about the Victorian Era. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the sweet comment at The Dedicated House. It means the world! Feel free to share this post at my Make it Pretty party which is still live. Here is the link if you want to check it out. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

Print Friendly and PDF
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...