Victorian Era Research Paper
The world is constantly changing, but one thing that has remained the same throughout history is social class division. Even today in our own country of the United States we experience a class division between the minority of wealthy Americans and the majority of working middle class Americans. Poverty is still present in the year 2014 which is hard to believe with about 5.2 million millionaires living in the US alone. Nonetheless it is real and we can only try to help the issue at this point. Charles Dickens in “A Christmas Carol”, attempts to raise awareness to this crippling issue. In his writing he hints and directs his readers to see what society is currently like in Victorian England. Many now in our time have tried to shed light on poverty presently in England and around the world by attempting to raise awareness of the importance of being generous to the poor, just as Dickens had. There are similarities and differences between poverty in the Victorian England period and in modern day England such as labor conditions for employees, the lives of children in society and the living conditions of the English people.
Victorian England was a time of industrialization for that region of the world. The streets of London, its capital city, were always busy day and night with men and women, boys and girls going to and from work. All as the city’s air filled with smoke and fumes from all of the factories and all of the bustling carriages that would travel down the narrow crowded streets of London. Charles Dickens was born during this time period making him a primary source to all of which he saw throughout his life. He saw the working class of England first hand in many ways especially through his father who was a clerk who later was imprisoned for not paying off his debt and wrote about it all. In “A Christmas Carol”, Dickens portrays the character Ebenezer Scrooge as a mean old business owner who constantly harasses his only employee Bob Cratchit who he barely pays a decent wage. This was Dickens’ way of depicting the act of labor and the working society during Victorian England. According to author Gillian Avery in “Victorian People; In Life and Literature”, working in a workhouse (factory) was just as bad as prison if not worse. He writes “…for the workhouse is jail too, he who does not finish his task gets nothing to eat; he who wishes to go outside must as permission.”(Avery). Yet most people had no choice but to suffer and enter a workhouse just to have a meal to eat and a bed to sleep on for the night. Living meal by meal made it very difficult to maintain a large family. Homeless covered the streets begging for assistance by others daily. Workhouse conditions were so bad that many rather beg on the streets in the frigid winter outdoors than work and be treated as slaves indoors. The poor during those times suffered the most in society. The class division was vast between the wealthy and the poor, much greater than it is now in our time. Today England has reformed their labor laws and regulations along with increasing the minimum wage for all employees. Research done by the United Kingdom Visa Service states “For workers 21 years and older the minimum wage rate per hour is to be raised to 6.31(Euros)”. One thing that was not cared for in Victorian England was the health and safety of the workers but now according to the UK Visa Service website “Nearly all workers are entitled to at least four weeks paid leave, sick pay, maternity, and paternity leave…all employers have a duty to take care of the health and safety of all their employees”. Labor has come a long way in England which is a great thing to see. Unfortunately poverty still exists but is being helped more and more each day.
A society is a group of people involved with each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same...
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