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Examination of the Plight of Children In Dickens’ Novels |

Shiva Modgil, Dr. Sunita Chaudhary, in Journal of Advances and Scholarly Researches in Allied Education | Multidisciplinary Academic Research


Charles Dickens is a writer who is very sympathetictowards his child characters. He is personally aware of the exploitation towhich the children are subjected because of his own history of workhouseincarceration, which parallels Oliver’s workhouse experience (James 89). Thisexplains the pathos in his novels, surrounding the uneducated and deprivedorphans whose loss of childhood is echoed through their physical exploitation.Dickens’ novels ultimately petition society to protect these assailedjuveniles. However, the Victorian society is paradoxical because it perceivedchildhood as essential, yet most of its juveniles are not given the chance tosafely experience growth and transition into adulthood. Gorham states: “. . .childhood had great symbolic importance, but many Victorians suffered from anuncertainty about the nature of childhood and the proper relationship ofchildren to the structure of the family and the wider society. In the late – Victorianperiod, many people who were concerned about the welfare of children also foundthemselves uncertain about how the boundaries of childhood should be defined” .