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Dickens’s social criticism

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1 Dickens’s social criticism
The Industrial Revolution and… Dickens’s social criticism

2 The Industrial Revolution: a period of big changes 1760 - 1890
LATER Richer farmers took over the smaller ones Small farmers lost their job and moved to town Factories became bigger Many towns grew rapidly BEFORE Britain was a rural country Most people lived and worked in farms Towns were small

3 The Industrial Revolution had its roots in the slow but continuous pace of improvements and innovations of the previous periods: the exploitation of the New World and the creation of an overseas empire which provided raw materials and absorbed manufactured products the availability of capital; the development of trade and commerce; the growth in population; the improved conditions in transport and communication (railways, roads and canals); scientific progress caused great changes in industry: the invention of new machinery improved the working techniques.

4 Immigration to the new industrial districts brought many evils in factories and houses:
Overpopulation and lack of elementary principles of sanitation. Men, women, and children worked to the limits of physical endurance and for starvation wages.

5 Working and living conditions
In the factories workers worked 13 hours a day for little money. 2/3 of them were children. Whole families were crowded in single rooms where lack of hygiene led to cholera and other health diseases.

6 The Victorian age ( ) Victoria was the niece of King William IV. She became Queen when she was only 18 but she was to reign for 64 years. She found a country in difficult circumstances owing to: a slump in industry; a period of bad crops. All this led to a period of misery called "the hungry forties".

7 The Victorian age was marked by a number of social achievements such as:
SOCIAL REFORMS THE FACTORY ACTS: which improved the regulated the conditions of factory workers. The TTEN HOURS’ ACT (1847): which limited working hours to 10 a day, for both women and men. The PUBLIC HEALTH ACT (1875): which improved health conditions. The EDUCATION ACTS (1870)-(1876): which reorganized elementary education.

8 An important Victorian novelist
NAME: Charles Dickens BORN:1812,near Portsmouth EDUCATION:at William Giles’s School, Chatham. He attended Wellington House Academy in London between 1824 and 1827. JOB: he worked as a clerk in a lawyer’s office, as a journalist, as a parliamentary reporter. IMPORTANT EVENTS: at the age of 12, his father was sent to jail for debts. D. was forced to work in a factory.

9 D’s most famous novels Pickwick Papers: a series of anecdotal stories regarding the members of a London club and their comic encounters. Oliver Twist: the story of a boy who lives in an orphanage and then moves to a workhouse where he experiences brutality. A Christmas Carol. This morality tale tells the story of Mr. Scrooge, a man who undergoes an experience of redemption during the night of Christmas Eve.

10 Other novels David Copperfield: his most autobiographical novel, about the life of a boy from childhood to maturity. Hard Times: set in the fictitious industrial town of Coketown. Bleak houses: against the abuses and the procrastinations of the law. Great Expectations: about Pip, an orphan brought up by his half-sister and her father.

11 D’s most important features
Social criticism In his works D. denouced child exploitation and ill-treatment, terrible conditions of industrial workers and prisoners, poverty, the system of law, hypocrisy and greed for money. Autobiographical elements Many novels incorporate elements of his life such as unhappy childhood experiences, prison life. He even based some memorable characters on the members of his family.

12 Characterization He was a master in the portrayal of characters. He used physical description or even names to indicate the characters’moral or spiritual values or vices. However, his characters are more literary "figures" because of their exagerated humorous and caricaturist descriptions and lack of psychological insight. Description of environment The setting of Dickens’s novels is always described in detail as it must incorporate the characters and convey the author’s assumptions. In his novels Dickens described several settings: the contryside, provincial towns, industrial settlements and above all London.

13 Style Dickens put together fantasy and reality, humour and sentimentalism, comic and tragic elements. This is reflected in his style, made up of a colourful and careful choice of adjectives, repetition of words, contrasting images, ideas and ironic remarks.

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