Charles Dickens: A Man of Social Reform
Today, Charles Dickens is considered an element of social reform. His life experiences that allowed him to gain this title. “Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, to John and Elizabeth Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the Naval Pay Office. John Dickens, unable to control the family’s finances, found himself imprisoned for debt in 1824. Elizabeth Dickens and children, with the exception of Charles, who was put to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, joined him in the Marshalsea Prison.
When his father was released, the then twelve-year-old Dickens, who was already scarred psychologically by the experience, was further wounded by his mother's insistence that he continue to work at the factory. He was halted from ever recovering his former happy life. The devastating impact of the period wounded him psychologically, colored his work, and haunted his entire life with disturbing memories At fifteen, he found employment as an office boy at an attorney's, while he studied shorthand at night” (Victorian Web). It was during this terrible period in Dickens' childhood that he observed the lives of the men, women, and children in the most impoverished areas of London and witnessed the social injustices they suffered.
Dickens believed in the ethical and political potential of literature, and the novel in particular, and he treated his fiction as a “springboard for debates about moral and social reform. It was through this novels with themes of social analysis Dickens became an outspoken critic of unjust economic and social conditions” (James 57). His deeply-felt social commentaries such as A Christmas Carol, helped raise the collective awareness of the reading public.
Dickens contributed significantly to the emergence of public social reform which was gaining an increased influence on the decisions of the authorities. Indirectly, he contributed to a series of legal reforms, “including the abolition of the inhumane...