What do we learn about life in the 18th century and how successfully does the writer convey this information whilst telling us a good story?
The story is set in the 18th century and includes factual information which plays a vital part in the storyline. It uses this information whilst entertaining the readers with a fictional storyline. It is based on one thing in particular, hence the title "The Coram Boy", this is The Coram Hospital.
A main factor in the storyline is the way the writer portrays society's attitude to poverty in the 18th century. The poor people were treated tremendously different to higher classed people. A lot of people were even living on the streets. For example, "He picked his way through the hordes of homeless children who congregated at evening, like the starlings, to look for the most sheltered niche into which they could huddle for the night." The writer uses immense detail to help the reader visualise the scene. She also uses a simile to help the reader compare the circumstances in which the children are in. This shows that the poor children had to live on the streets and fend for themselves during the 18th century. Another example involves a brief description of the city in which the poor people lived in. This is "nor when he smelt the stench of open sewers and foraging pigs, and the manure of horses and mules" This gives a clear example of the state of the city. It is unclean and rancid and the writer includes this whilst keeping to her fictional storyline.
Another factor in the storyline is society's attitude to class differences. Higher classed people were never allowed to socialise with people below their class. For example, Alice who is a young girl born to a rich high-classed family queries why she cannot marry Thomas, a lower classed boy. This is answered by "'Cos he's not a gentleman." Higher classed people were not permitted to marry out of their class. If they did it would be considered shameful and parents would...
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