What were Charles Dickens's thoughts and opinions on the Victorian Era?

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Throughout his novels, Charles Dickens exposed what he saw as the injustices in Victorian society. In particular, he wrote about the different economic classes, decrying the way underprivileged people fared in Victorian England. He greatly resented the treatment of the poor or debt-laden greatly.

Dickens writes extensively about the treatment of orphans and charity cases in Oliver Twist. For instance, Oliver is born in a poor house. Oliver also spends part of his childhood working in a workhouse for the poor. His only crime is that he is poor. Ironically, Dickens writes:

that Oliver should be "farmed," or, in other words, that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse…where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing

In part, this is based on Dickens’s own life. Dickens’s father, John, had “no money sense,” according to the author. John Dickens was therefore always in debt. As a result, when he could not satisfy his creditors, he was imprisoned in the Marshalsea Debtors' Prison in 1824.

John’s imprisonment also led to a big change in Charles’s life. With his father in debtor’s prison, Charles had to help support the family. He was taken out of school and, like Oliver, forced to work in a workhouse. Charles was twelve years old at the time, and this made a deep impression on him that stayed with him throughout his life. John Dickens was released from prison after a few months, and Charles was sent back to school.

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens writes, “we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” If you lived in London and came from a certain socio-economic background, you had everything before you.

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