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English Literature 2015

Annabelle Smithson

on 14 September 2015

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The Social Context of "A Christmas Carol"
A Christmas Carol
About The Author
Charles Dickens was born on the 7th Feburary 1812, in Landport. Landport is near Portsea Island and is in the city of Portsmouth (South West England).

During Dickens' life there were three coronations; George IV (1820), William IV (1830) and Queen Victoria (1837).

Charles Dickens wrote many books, however is most famous are
Great Expectations
Oliver Twist
(1837) and
David Copperfield
England in 1800-1900
The Industrial Revolution was a time in Victorian England where machinery and new innovative ideas were seen across the country. It started in 1760 to around the 1830s. Factories were produced on abundance and people had places to work. Farmers were able to purchase machinery and materials could be mass produced for England's Navy. However, this also meant that society for the workers was hard, underpaid and unforgiving. Workers would be overworked and easily injured. For Dickens' characters and, indeed, Dickens' himself this period would have been hard for a child.
Children's parents had to pay for them to attend a proper school, which meant that hardly any children went. This meant that children were working sometimes very dangerous jobs. There were good schools for boys, but ony wealthier families could afford these, and wealthy girls usually had a governess who taught them at home. Most poor children grew up with little education. This meant that they would always be working in harsh, dangerous places and were treated with very little respect. Dickens, and the characters from his book, would have had to endure this uncertainty in their childhood.
The Poor in England
A new law was introduced in 1815 called the Poor Law. Each parish had to look after its own poor. If you were unable to work then you were given some money. This money came from upper and middle class taxes. A criticism of this law is that employers would lower the workers' wages as they knew of their extra money. Never the less, this was an improvement to the poor's lifestyles. Furthermore, free schools, called 'ragged schools', were developed for the poor children. Teachers were often local working people and initially used stables, railway arches or lofts as classrooms. This was made, along with the Poor Law, to help those less fortunate. Dickens and some of the characters from his book would have benefited from these changes. London grew very quickly too, meaning that London's industry was needed more than ever to keep people in work. In 1800 London's population was at 1 million, but one century later it was at 6.7 million...
A Christmas Carol
is set in Victorian England: on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This novella was written at a time where new customs had been introduced, such as Christmas cards and Christmas trees. Christmas became more vibrant and people started celebrating it in new, fun ways.
It is thought that Dickens used his own experiences and highlights his sympathy for the poor within this book.
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