The Cratchit Family, and How They Exemplify Conditions of the Poor in the Victorian Era

Topics: Charles Dickens, Victorian era, Wage Pages: 2 (729 words) Published: March 17, 2011
“How does Dickens use the Cratchit family to highlight the difficulties faced by the poor in Victorian England?” Respond By Sarah Clarence

The Cratchit family are the perfect example of the difficulties faced by the poor in Victorian England. Their housing situation, the children working, and Bob working for such a low wage are all social factors that the poor had to live with daily so that they didn’t have to enter workhouses.

The population increased dramatically throughout the century, so there were lots of skilled people available to work but not lots of work available. At the end of the century, the population in England was nearly triple what it was at the beginning. Workhouses were set up for the poor to work in, but the poor were treated cruelly in these workhouses, and often didn’t make it out until they died with very low wages paid to them…if any at all. Because poor people were so fearful of having to enter into these workhouses, they were willing to work for very low wages. If someone didn’t want to work for a certain wage, there were twenty others lined up who would take his job in an instant. The rich wanted to stay rich and were very cruel to their employees. Bob Cratchit is a perfect example of this. Scrooge knew that 15 “bob” a week wasn’t enough for Bob to feed his family and survive on, but still never paid him any higher. Bob suffered terrible conditions at work, often working very long hours and in a freezing room – he was only allowed one coal in his fire – but still he went in every day, because he knew that he would struggle to find more work and Scrooge would easily replace him.

Because Bob wasn’t payed enough for his family to have basic necessities such as food and a roof over their head, his daughter Martha had to find work. It was very common for children to work during the Victorian Era, as they were cheaper to hire than the adults. Another reason why children were hired was because they could do all of the horrible...
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