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A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens
Transcript of A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens
Time: 1840’s Place: London, England
London, England -- 1800-1860
What was the city like in the 1800’s?
• Large, crowded, and polluted
• Streets covered with garbage and horse dung
• No running water, bathrooms, or electricity
• Rats and vermin were thick and carried disease
• Drinking water from the Thames River polluted with human waste
• Black, sticky coal soot covered everything
• Disease was rampant / average life-span 22 years
Rich traveled in horse drawn carriages --- Working class and poor walked
Wealthy children pampered and had private tutors
Children of successful business men attended schools
Children of poor and homeless (80%) were put to work
Children as young as 4 years old worked 10-12 hours per day
Chimney sweeping was a filthy and dangerous job. Young children usually performed this task because they were small and could actually climb into the chimneys to clean them. They were constantly covered in soot and suffered from lung ailments.
Children worked in coal mines, textile factories, as street-sweepers, chimney sweeps, or as servants
Many poor children became thieves and pick-pockets in order to survive
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As the family grew, the Dickens fell on hard financial times
Dad worked, but spent more than he earned
Charles had to quit school at age 12 in 1824 and go to work He worked long hours for little pay in a shoe blacking factory
He attached labels to shoe polish canisters
He became the main breadwinner when his father, mother and younger siblings were sent to debtor’s prison
His family was released from prison after three years when debts were paid off
Charles was traumatized by this experience, but became a “champion of the poor”
THE CHILDREN OF THE VICTORIAN ENGLAND