Victorian Era Ideologies

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The Victorian era which lasted during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901, established the foundations of many social, cultural and moral ideologies in which many are present to this day. Everywhere you look you can almost always see something Victorian-inspired from floral patterned curtains to elegantly hand crafted candlesticks. When visualizing ‘The Victorian Era’ lavish balls, lace covered dresses, tea parties and fancy lifestyles come to mind. However, the Victorian era is much more than this. Victorians were judgmental, proud and often selfish people, as their biggest goal in life was usually to make and/or keep a name for themselves which meant marrying their daughters off to rich, aristocrats to preventing their family members from achieving happiness for their own comfort. Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens all show Victorian ideologies through their characters. Charles Dickens, author of ‘Oliver Twist’ has positioned the reader to feel sympathetic for Oliver by empathizing how cruel he is treated by the parishes. Throughout the novel Oliver is treated appallingly. He and the other orphans are starved and forced into child labour; sent to sea or working in factories and mines for long hours with very minimal pay. The living conditions were harsh, Oliver slept on a ‘rough, hard bed’ and when he was sent off to live with Mr Sowerberry he was fed the dog’s scraps. The parishes felt no compassion towards the children and they only saw them as a way to make money. Oliver is terrified when he is to become a chimney sweep praying that they would ‘starve him - beat him - kill him if they pleased – rather than send him away with that dreadful man’. When Oliver escapes from the workhouse his only options are to work as an apprentice, suffering low wages and abuse from his employer or go to an early grave. The abuse the orphans go through shows that Victorians were very callous and uncaring towards the lives of the children and believe that...
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