Charles Dickens was an English Victorian era author who wrote about the hard labor and living situations during the Industrial
Revolution. One of his most famous works include Oliver Twist, which was about the young boys who worked as chimney sweepers. This was, in a way, reflective of his childhood. His works gave the reader a glimpse of how difficult it was to live and work during this time in history where everything converted from traditional, manual labor to machine-driven, highly-productive labor and often more dangerous and life threatening. Many of his novels were like this, describing the harshness of the new urban lifestyle that was caused by the Industrial Revolution. Other works include David Copperfield, most autobiographical novel, and Little Dorrit, also reflective of his younger years.

Here is a quote from his novel, Oliver Twist, describing the difficult situations of the Industrial Revolution:

“So they established the rule that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody, not they) of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it. With this view, they contracted with the waterworks to lay on an unlimited supply of water, and with a corn-factor to supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal, and issued three meals of thin gruel a day, with an onion twice a week and half a roll on Sundays. They made a great many other wise and humane regulations . . . kindly undertook to divorce poor married people . . . instead of compelling a man to support his family, as they had theretofore done, took his family away from him, and made him a bachelor! There is no saying how many applicants for relief, under these last two heads, might have started up in all classes of society, if it had not been coupled with the workhouse; but the board were long-headed men, and had provided for this difficulty. The relief was inseparable from the workhouse and the gruel, and that frightened people.”


Posted by: Julia Jin



5 Comments so far

  1.    Jdoggy dog on May 9, 2012 11:56 pm

    Dickens was a messed up man. As a child he worked to pay off his family’s debt. Then as an adult he was blamed for incest. His writing reflects the experiences he had.
    -jdoggy dog

  2.    Kerry on July 6, 2013 2:34 am

    Why did the industrial revolution begin in England before anywhere else? Because the wages in England at that time were so much higher, and thus it became economic to develop labor saving devices.
    What some of these authors fail to provide is context.

  3.    AChubbyTeddyBear on March 4, 2014 12:28 am


  4.    AChubbyTeddyBear's Stalker on March 5, 2014 5:15 am

    I watch you when you sleep. I know where you live. You used to have a dog called sassy then she died of cancer. You have Down syndrome. You go to st Augustine’s. I know everything.

  5.    AChubbyTeddyBear's Stalker's Stalker on March 6, 2014 1:04 am

    I watch you when you sleep. You stalk AChubbyTeddyBear, have no dogs, you are asian, you are fat and lazy and are friends with a tall blond.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind