How effective were the social investigators of the 19th and 20th Centuries? The purpose of the Social Investigators of the 19th and 20th centuries was to establish the true nature of poverty amongst the poor, hence reinforcing a change in society’s perception of poverty. Even though the like of Charles Booth and Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree were the driving forces behind this pioneering research into social attitudes, it has to be said that other significant individuals were those who applied directly to the public, the novelist and artists. Charles Dickens had embarked in something revolutionary, using his work to expose the unjust of the poor, novels like ‘Hard Time and ‘Oliver Twist’ showed the middle class and upper class audiences the life of those in workhouses. The Social Investigators were desperate to discover the cause of poverty that had erupted within the British society during the early 19th century.
This essay wants to show that, despite formally having the peculiar characteristics of the “Bildungsroman”, the importance of the Dickens' masterpiece has to be found in its belonging to the social novel, which marked not only the Victorian era, but also the European novelistic, especially in France and Russia: about this, Dickens, and along with him Stendhal and Balzac, “use the plot as a means of dissecting the post-Napoleonic war and exposing its moral poverty[…] communicate their horror of a materialistic society, but they are not without admiration for the possibilities of the new social mobility” (1)(2). Charles Dickens is the protagonist of the second half of the nineteenth century, where the industrialized and imperialistic Victorian era reached the peak of its power, producing in the meanwhile disparities and contradictions, with the definitive triumph of the bourgeoisie class and the birth of the industrial capitalist nation. And the locations used to represent this phenomenon are emblematic: on the one hand, the rural economy, with its values intended to be anachronistic shortly thereafter, despised and reviled; on the other hand, the capital of the largest empire ever known, the most economically advanced city,
Instead, she investigates all of the underlying causes of the chaos, which spans from the inhabitants themselves, to the government’s lack of control. She makes an effort to capture different peoples attitudes in order to expose the hierarchy system that the people sub-consciously live under. During the novel, she struggles with her own identity and attempts to understand the impact that the fall of Communism has brought forth in her life, as well as others. She also tries to recognize why the Eastern European countries have had a slow progression after the transformation of the region. One of the small aspects of life that Drakulic explores is the process of travel.
She portrays strong feeling regarding the social class system of the time, the view towards women and marriage, and the complexities friendship and compassion held in the 19th century. Together, the events and feelings mould together Austen's satirical novel, and allows Austen to give her own opinions using her omniscient narrative throughout the book. Of course, in William Shakespeare's play 'The Merchant of Venice', we explore more of these strong feelings, however they are not at all similar- or so it seems. Shakespeare's use of unique dramatic methods expose hypocrisy in the Elizabethan Venice setting regarding the social intolerance between the Christians and the Jews. Not only this, but throughout the play, we can see obvious feelings of revenge and compassion, especially in Act 4 scene 1 where Shylocks loss of revenge evokes our compassion towards the emotionally broken man.
This discontent lay largely within the 3rd estate, as the politics of the time were unpopular amongst them, particularly as the economic crises hit nearer to 1789. Compounding these frustrations were the new ideals becoming evident in the French society, and so many residents of France, particularly those of the lower classes, now had reason and motivation to push for reform. Economic concerns were an important factor in relation to the revolution as they encouraged many people from the city to join the uprising due to their desperate situations. One of the earliest forms of economic trouble in relation to the revolution began in 1756, when France first began going into debt due to her war with England. This debt was further accentuated by her involvement in the American Revolution from 1775, and the government continued spending more than they were receiving in taxes.
How did Victorian writers use different literary forms to critique prevailing social attitudes? With reference to the work of at least one Victorian poet and Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, discuss the way in which difference in the form of writing impacted on the presentation of social issues. The Victorian era refers to the period in history that spans the reign of Queen Victoria, from her crowning in 1837 to her death in 1901. This essay will demonstrate that prevailing social attitudes of the Victorian era were critiqued by Victorian writers through the use of technical features in the writer’s chosen literary form. The difference in the form of writing impacted the presentation of these literary works and how they were received.
Here the ‘chimneysweeper’s cry’ represents the lower class children who at the time were paid minimum wage to undertake the dangerous job. This links in with the ‘blackening church’ which represents the upper class and seems to encourage the practise. Also, the ‘hapless soldier’s sigh’ conveys how the poorer people tended to be exploited with the onomatopoeic ‘sigh’ illustrating the lack of hope or a sense of giving up and presumably his last breath. Blake reiterated the ‘hapless’ nature of the poor class with ‘blood down the palace walls’ using dark imagery to display the stark contrast of those whose lives are sacrificed for the wealthy, in this case the monarchy. The use of colour imagery as well such as ‘blackening’ corrupts the stereotypical view of the purity of the church and possibly the death of the ‘chimney sweepers’.
Louisa and Tom, products of Gradgrind’s fact-filled reasoning, represent the lost cases of this teaching method while Stephan and Rachael symbolise the victims of these new ideas. Coketown is also described in a way that repels the readers from it, while the Dickensian style helps to mock certain aspects of modernity that the characters symbolise. Dickens’ representation of the average upper class utilitarian is conveyed through the caricature of Mr Gradgrind. Mr Gradgrind’s personality fuels the intimate main plot of Hard Times, being a perfect model of a utilitarian. He oppresses his children and school students into learning “fact, fact, fact”, trapping them from any chance of releasing emotion and fancy.
The descriptive writing in Charles Dickens novels were a direct reflection of what England's slummy disadvantaged people lived like. Weather was a constant grey as a result of the industrial revolution stirring the society up, both demographicly and geographicly. This made Charles Dickens a bit more unique as he chose to write a story based off of his
In Brighton Rock Greene uses the setting of the novel to explore various wider themes and to make implications, often revealing his own beliefs as, perhaps clumsily, he interrupts the fictional events on occasion. Therefore, it could be argued that Greene uses the fictional landscape as a way of commenting on the social and political events of the time; the 1930s, where social injustice, poverty, distinct divides in wealth, and criminality were rife. This can be seen as early as the first chapter, where the setting explores the theme of artificiality. Hale’s “inky fingers and his bitten nails” convey that “anybody could tell he didn’t belong”. Therefore, Hale is contrasted to the “glittering air” and “the silver paint [that] sparkled”, which have connotations of tackiness, and polishing over the truth with artificial objects.