How does Charles Dickens present ideas about childhood in staves 1 and 2?

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It's clear from early on in the story that it's not much fun being a child in Dickens's England, especially if you happen to be poor. The ragged, half-starved waifs roaming around the streets at the beginning of the story are a sad reminder of this. Mind you, Scrooge wasn't poor as a boy—but he still had a throughly miserable childhood. Each year, while all the other boys were enjoying Christmas with their families, he was stuck at boarding school, all alone. Thankfully, his beloved sister, Fen, arrived one year to take him home for the holidays. His old man had had a change of heart and wanted young Ebenezer to come and spend Christmas at home after all.

This particular episode illustrates the inordinate degree of control that adults had over children at that time. Today, the behavior of Scrooge's father—before he had his change of heart, that is—would be construed as tantamount to child abuse. But in those days, a man was considered lord and master in his own house, and if he...

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