Research England's occupation and colonization of India. When did it begin? How long did it last? How was England's culture influenced by the information that was brought back from India to the British Isles?
Research the Industrial Revolution, and locate Jacobs' work within it. How did the Industrial Revolution change life in England? Life in the United States? How did it affect families like the Whites in Jacobs's story?
What writers and artists were contemporaries of Jacobs? Did they have similar concerns? Did other writers of his day use the literary devices that Jacobs often employed? Were painters and sculptors operating under the same cultural constraints and assumptions, and how did this affect their work?