A Charles Dickens Background

Megan Albrecht

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was a very influential writer of the 19th century, but his stories are still very popular even now. He was born to Elizabeth and John dickens on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England. His family was middle class and moved many times, until his father, who did a bad job of managing money, was sent, along with the rest of his family, to a debt prison. While twelve year old Charles was sent to work at a shoe polish factory for 6 shillings a week. When he grew up Charles became a law clerk, but found no joy in working for snooty, bossy, boring, lawyers, so he quit that job and became a writer. It was a good thing too, he brought to us "A Christmas Carol", "Oliver Twist", and many more literary classics that have shaped the way we live today. He wrote these books until June 9, 1870, the day he died.

Victorian Era and Industrialization

The Victorian era was the time period in which Queen Victorian reigned between 1837 and 1901. The Victorian era was in the time of industrialization which was an era in which manufacturing flourished. It started in Britain, but spread quickly through England and Across the Atlantic ocean to the United States. Industrialization brought us many things including cars, airplanes, telephones and radio. It was a very important era, not just for Britain or England, but the whole world as well.

Child Labor in Britain

Unfortunately, the era of great thinking and manufacturing brought great poverty and child labor. In many cases the children were brought out of school and into factories because they were cheap and could work as well as adults, in many ways. Children as young as five worked for at least twelve hours a day, and were not paid very well. Dickens himself had experience working as a child, in Dickens's case his family was in debt and he had to work it off, but in many cases the kids worked to bring food and clothes for their families because their families were very poor. In 1878 the factory act was passed and it stated that no child under 10 could work. This area was not the best era for child safety, but it did bring many new things to this world.

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens wrote many stories, as you have read my first paragraph, but I believe "A Christmas Carol" is the most well known of his works. We all know about Scrooge and Tiny Tim, along with the ghosts Past, Present, and Future, but do we know why Dickens wrote it? Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" in 1843 and created it to show the terrible conditions suffered by the poor in Victorian England. In that time Christmas was not celebrated as a great and important holiday, people just thought it was another day, but Dickens changed that He created a story that attached a great importance to the Christmas season, and that importance is still celebrated in the way I feel that he wanted it to be celebrated.
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