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 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 Benzene Scrooge as a mean old business owner who constantly harasses his only employee Bob Charity 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 saws 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 political authority and dominant cultural expectations. In a society everyone has their own roles which they attempt to fulfill in order to maintain the society and keep it in tact The roles of children in our society presently are to play, learn and grow.
These three objectives are very simple in which they should be because they involve undeveloped minds, Work is not incorporated in the role of people until they reach their late teens for the most part. Yet in Victorian England, a time of work and development, children were used frequently to the point of becoming a norm in their society. Parents of more than one child needed more income to support their children and themselves during these tough times. Men and women would work all day and night but still not make enough to live comfortably with their children at home.
As a result families began to send their kids off to find work wherever they could. Children had n unhappy childhood as they worked hard to satisfy the needs of their parents because families were very poor and didn’t have enough money. They underwent very difficult conditions of employment. Days were long for them usually eight or twelve hours a day, six days a week. Children worked in manufacturers and at that time, there was no insurance so when children had accidents or were ill they didn’t have any help. Many children often worked with adults working under the same conditions.
Employers hired children because they were small, they could go into narrow spaces, along with being clever too and employers appreciated these qualities. Things changed however by 1878 factories could not employ children under 10 and children under the age of 13 were to receive at least 10 hours of education per week. Times were changing and author Sarah Reproach writes “The primary purpose of the schooling was not simply to educate the poor, but rather to counter, the perceived social evil of children’s labor… ” (Reproach).
Actions were being taken to send children to school rather have them work in dangerous environments at such young ages. This did increase poverty for some time but had to be done. Society during the Victorian Era was beginning o evolve into what it is today when it comes to child labor. In England today children are not allowed to work but they still do have an issue with child poverty currently. “London is the sixth richest city in the world… Yet 4 in 10 London children live in poverty”(). Poverty not just in London is still around and will never end because greed exists.
Greed by the wealthy causes suffering for the poor, something we all should know by now, something we cannot stop. We all strive in life to make our lives easier and to do things more efficiently without having to put too much effort into certain things. Life as we know it is completely different from what it was just 10 years ago let alone a century or two ago. It’s not the ground, the air, or the climate changing it is us as a people adapting better and evolving. We work every day to make our lives and the lives of others easier. We invent new gadgets and ways to work faster and produce more.
Life is getting easier for us as every day passes with new technology being invented daily; that is, if you have the money to buy all of these new innovations. Living in Victorian England was not easy by any means. From working all day and barely getting enough money to eat, to avian to risk your life or the lives of your children so that you don’t have to sleep outside for the night, life at that time was its toughest. Poverty struck the people and didn’t let its grip for a long time. We as a generation are not and will never be capable of surviving such conditions.
Charles Dickens was witness to these conditions of living and urged his fellow people to be generous and caring toward those suffering in this world primarily around the holiday seasons. In “A Christmas Carol” he writes “… It is more than usually desirable that we should make some light provisions for the poor and situate who suffer greatly at this present time”(Dickens). His character of Scrooge sees no point to help those “in want of common necessities and cornrow comforts” until the end where he is enlightened by the three spirits that visit him.
Dickens himself is trying to enlighten his readers just as the spirits did to Scrooge. The story itself is a big metaphor to what the people of his society were and how they must change. Today according to the Interactions Connecting Global Minds website London is an “international center of trade and innovation” currently but “… It also has problems with Eng-term unemployment, child poverty, and homelessness, which you will almost certainly come across”. No place on this Earth is a perfect utopia to live in but we as a people are working toward that and every day we move closer and closer.
We live in a world where at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $1 0 a day, and a world that had 12 million people as millionaires last year. There is such a huge gap between the two from the wealthiest business man to an air of a thrown and to a poor elderly man holding a ripped cup in his hand sitting on the side of a busy street in a big city hoping he can get enough change to ay some food. The world is constantly changing but it is up to us as people to change it for the better and not the worse.
We need to recognize what is really going on in our world and reflect on who we truly are. We might be evolving into a better society one that respects the working man more, one that has no children working at all and one that is trying to make the lives of its people easier but it is not changing the big issue. At the end of the day one man will have more than the other for whatever reason it may be and cause a class division. History has shown that we have tried different methods to sake us all equal but then again one person is always on top.