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There is a massive irony in the way that Dickens describes the impact of the building of the railroad on the community. The railroad, which he says is part of moving England on "its mighty course of civilisation and improvement." However, if we examine the reality of the railroad and how it is being constructed, we see that the description Dickens gives us reveals there is nothing about civilisation or improvement in what is happening to this community:
There were a hundred thousand shapes and substances of incompleteness, wildly mingled out of their places, upside down, burrowing in the earth, aspiring in the air, mouldering in the water, and unintelligible as any dream. Hot springs and fiery eruptions, the usual attendants upon earthquakes, lent their contributions of confusion to the scene. Boiling water hissed and heaved within dilapidated walls; whence, also, the glare and roar of flames came issuing forth; and mounds of ashes blocked up rights of way, and wholly changed the law and custom of the neighbourhood.
Note the use of such words as "incompleteness," "dilapidated walls" and the way that the building of the railroad "changed the law and custom of the neighbourhood." The scene is described in shocking, startling terms, that are not positive in any sense. Dickens was not alone in feeling a massive ambivalence about the railroad. On the one hand, it represented the best of the Industrial Age through its triumph of man's mechanical ability and reason. On the other hand, as this description makes clear, the way that the railroads changed life and society so profoundly made some very uneasy, and they felt that life was going to be changed irrevocably, and not necessarily for the better.
You should have more clearly asked a question but I am also in American School so.
The railroad had many affects on the "neighbors or neighborhood".
"the neighbor hood was shy to own the railroad" to begin with. The railroad brought "its mighty course of civilisation and improvement". which the neighborhood was not ready for. Some bold spectators projected streets, and one had built a little, but had stopped because of the mud and ashes after the earthquake.
"A bran-new tavern, redolent of fresh mortar and size, and fronting nothing at all, had taken for its sign The Railway Arms"
"the Excavator's house of Call had sprung up from a beer-shop; and the old-established Ham and Beef shop had become the Railway Eating House,"
"The general belief [ of the neighborhood in the railroad] was slow". so they never really like it. Dickens writes, "[that against the railroad] the backs of mean houses, and patches of wretched vegetation, stared it out of countenance."(countenance can be to permit or tolerate or just a facial expression )
Dickens continues to say in the last few sentences of the excerpt, "Nothing was the better for it, [...]." "[...] The miserable waste ground lying near the [the railroad would have loved] to scorn [the railroad], like the many miserable neighbors."
So the railroad affects the neighbors by changing their lives very much so, that they no longer live in the same environment. Most of the building have changed and there is probably waste and or garbage left over from the railroad and the workers. That's why Dickens ends by saying the neighbors are "miserable".
This explains the affects quite well and it's almost exactly what is written in the excerpt. so you may want to read the excerpt to see that I am correct.
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