Describe the country's condition when the novel "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was written?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When it comes to a thorough description of life in the Victorian era, the "Victorian Web" beats all. It provides a close look at the class structure and factory conditions, which resulted in extreme poverty, a filthy city that caused disease, and a lack of health care--all of which petain to Dicken's story. The "work house' was a particular feature of Victorian life that looms in the background of this and other Dickens stories. The Victorian Web provides a close look at this horrifying phenomenon. "A Christmas Carol" recognizes class distinctions, filth and poverty, lack of healthy care, and also Dickens' warm and sentimental portrayal of children, apparent in many stories, which opperates in contrast to the dire living conditions. The link is below, as well as the link to enotes information on "Christmas Carol."

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For most people, 19th century London was no place to live.  It was crowded and dirty.  Jobs were scarce, and what work their was was fraught with danger.  Child labor was the norm.  Pollution made even breathing difficult. Frequently, sewage ran along the gutters of the streets.   Orphanages sprang up all over the country and debtors prisons were full (some of their children wound up in the horrible homes.)

Although a number of scholars argue that it wasn't as awful as Dicken's describes, all concur that the country faced environmental and social problems.  More than anyone, Dickens helped raise awareness of the squallor and poverty in England.  His works were instrumental in bringing about regulations that helped clean things up, make lives more humane, and jobs less dangerous. 

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A Christmas Carol

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