Charles Dickens is a familiar name for readers passionate about reading English novels. The eminent writer is the most popular and perhaps the best English novelist. However, the journey of achieving the top spot witnessed enormous social complexities, especially during Charles Dickens early life. And the author portrayed those experiences later in his writings.
The autobiographical account of Charles Dickens reveals that the great author was born in poverty. The scarcity of financial support became severe when his father got imprisoned in a debtor’s prison. The crucial situation compelled him to earn his living only at ten. In a word, the famous English novelist started encountering bitter social incidents in his early life.
Dickens always remained a minute observer of society. He lived with a purpose his entire life. As a Victorian Age novelist, he consistently focused on various social evils of his time. His writings mirror the realities and contradictions of his age. According to several eminent analysts, the Victorian Age was the age of faith and, at the same time, doubt.
In reality, the coexistence of morality, prosperity, and hypocrisy was the prime identity of the Victorian Age. Probably this rare yet significant concurrence of contrast profoundly influenced Charles Dickens early life. In addition, it deeply impacted his portrayal of society in his novels.
The first and foremost impact that moved Dickens profoundly in his beginning days was the sufferings of the poverty-stricken population, especially factory workers. The Victorian Age was the age of the Industrial Revolution. And Dickens was the inhabitant of that era.
On the one hand, this specific period emerged as the era of progress with the rise and expansion of the big capitalist class. On the contrary, this age also witnessed severe difficulties for ordinary people with the uprooting of the rural population. Many people from the rural surroundings rushed to cities for better wages and living at this time.
The bitter reality was that the poor became vulnerable and destined for severe suffering. As a result, factory workers found no choice but to go with frequent strikes. Two famous novels by Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield unlock the evidence of these hardships. Both stories present vivid pictures of the evils in the big workhouses and the resulting agony of the poor mass.
In Dicken’s other famous creation, Great Expectations, readers can notice how brutally the prison houses acted during this time. The prison laws were utterly cruel, and the prisoners usually received inhuman treatment.
The second most painful impact that Moved Charles Dickens early life heavily was children’s suffering. During Dicken’s time, the sorrows and pain of the children, especially the poor ones, appeared acutely shocking.
The English author painfully observed during his young age how the little ones had no choice but to work for a long thirteen hours daily under brutal force. David Copperfield is perhaps the most prominent example that unfolds this bitter reality. Also, this famous novel depicts the author’s humane initiative to stir the conscience of an insensible age. Yes, Dickens tried heart and soul to revive the moral sense of that society, which chose to remain silent about the ill-treatment of its poor children.
Dicken’s unrivaled humor in his works reveals society’s genuine pathos. It uncovers the social ills during his time.
As depicted in David Copperfield, private schools were the prime source of learning during the Victorian era. These private or personal academics ran for monetary profit only. Students here got beaten mercilessly for almost no reason. However, Dickens talked about a good school, too, in the novel. Nonetheless, it was rare to see such an institution at his time that cared for the well-being of the young students.
There is no denying that nearly all of Charles Dickens’ creations aimed to bring humanistic social reforms. It was his well-planned step to mention the cruel societal features in his novels. The primary purpose behind his bold effort to portray the coarser characteristics of the Victorian Age was to suggest the necessity of removing them.
It is hard to deny that almost every historical comparison has considered the Victorian era the age of rapid progress. And it is indeed true that remarkable industrial development became visible during this period. However, literary pioneers like Dickens took the baton to highlight the far-reaching negative impacts due to these developments. He unhesitatingly marked the hardships and pains of the poor people because of this rapid yet blind progress. As a representative novelist, he showed the courage to disclose the follies of his age.