Dickens lived in the 1800s. He was born in Landport, Portsea, England on February 7, 1812. He had seven siblings and at age 11 was taken out of school to work at a factory. He was paid six shillings a week. When his father and the rest of his family were thrown in jail, Charles was left in the city, alone.
After situations improved, he went back to school; then became an office boy, then a freelance reporter, and then an author. He published The Pickwick Papers in 1837 and gained immediate fame.
After publishing many other books, he married Catherine Hegarth. He had ten children when they split up. Sadly, he died of a stroke on June 8, 1870. The books that he wrote were mostly about poor people’s situations. Dickens is very sarcastic in his books and he shows people’s situations without them coated in sugar and honey.
In Oliver Twist Dickens shows how children were treated in the poorhouse. Careless and hard-hearted women accidently smothered children when making beds, they scalded them to death when they washed clothes, and the children were almost never washed. They were clothed in the thinnest clothing, beaten and starved. Oliver asks for another tiny bowlful of soup as he was still starving when in the poorhouse, and would’ve been hanged for it if not for a very narrow escape.
The rich people spoke of the poor as though they were whining, overfed dogs. They closed their eyes to the people dying on the sides of the streets and it didn’t even cross their minds that they should maybe help.
Certainly, people were left to starve in the streets, but at least some of them were given jobs! Some boys could be chimney sweeps, so that they could get stuck in the chimney and have the fire lit while they were still inside. They were only smothered by the smoke or had the bottoms of their feet burned so they couldn’t walk properly for the rest of their lives, but who cares? They’re replicable! Well, so thought their privileged abusers.
People were often put in prison for no reason. The judge casually assumed that a person who happened to be passing by the scene was guilty, and had them thrown in a cell without a proper trial.
Charles Dickens was one of the only people who wrote about the poor. He lived his books (quite literally) so he could really tell what was going on behind the scenes.