What solutions does Dickens offer to the social problems that he sketches out in Oliver Twist?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dickens pointed out many social problems in his works but never offered any concrete solutions. He seemed to believe that society would be improved if only people would follow the precepts of Christianity. A good example of his philosophy is seen in his famous A Christmas Carol. Scrooge overnight experiences a change of heart and is overwhelmed with love for his neighbors, which he proves by buying a big goose for his clerk and giving him a raise. If everybody would be changed like that, there would be no social problems. Even though Dickens had no program for social reform, he was tremendously influential in bringing about reforms by inspiring other people to work for legislation that would help to ameliorate the conditions he exposed in his works. He appealed to people's consciences all over the world. Maybe that was sufficient for one single writer to do with his pen. He might have been less effective emotionally if he had been more pragmatic.


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