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- KurzbeschreibungThe Industrial Revolution was a time of enormous change for the British society. Science and technology developed rapidly and brought wealth and improvement into many sectors of life; inventions like the steam engine, power looms, the spinning jenny or the expansion of the road and rail network made life easier. But on the other hand it was also the time of great misery, exploitation and tremendous class differences between a very thin and very wealthy upper-class, a rising middle-class and a very broad and to a great extent extremely impoverished working-class. But how was it like being a working-class child in Victorian England? To answer this question this work will take a close look at two of the most famous contemporary novels dealing with the depiction of children: Charles Dickens David Copperfield and Oliver Twist .
- AutorSelina Schuster
- VerlagAnchor Academic Publishing
- Seiten56 Seiten
- Gewicht105 g
- LeseprobeText Sample:
Chapter 2.1, The Middle-class A romanticized Idealization:
Speaking about the perception of children and childhood during the Victorian Era one usually refers to the ideas and ideals of the upper classes. It fact it was the Victorian middle-class that laid the foundation to the modern attitude towards childhood and which is closely intertwined with the perception of the ideal-typical and archetypical Victorian childhood as we imagine it today. It is not for nothing that family life [ ] was the most idealized part of childhood in the Victorian period .Especially the Romantic Movement s view on children as inherently innocent beings highly influenced Victorian middle-class parents attitude towards their children and childhood in general. The predominating image of the time in regard to children was definitely shaped by romanticized sentimentality: Children share certain important characteristics: they are depicted as infantile, with large heads or rosebud mouths or lips, and thus as innocent; as vulnerable, in need of adult protection; as trusting, perceiving only the good in the world.
But there was more to the middle-class view on children other that they were something immensely precious and worth protecting. As already mentioned above, class differences were a substantial part of society during the Victorian period and therefore shaped the views and opinions of those who were born into the different classes decisively. The foremost important aspect of the Victorian middle-class view on family life and childhood was the concept of domesticity: Domesticity was an idealization of the home. Home was a refuge from the cruelty and rapaciousness of the workplace and the marketplace. As a matter of fact, for the Victorian middle-class family the home had become especially important since it was seen as a tranquil haven within the vast and turbulent ocean of the hectic outside world. They tried to build their own little paradise of peace and serenity which stood in stark contrast to the public sphere. The Victorian middle-class tended to idealize the family and family life as a heavenly sanctuary with the luxury of leisure time, where loving mothers could play with their well-behaved children and fathers would relax after a long day of hard work. It is this new emphasis on the importance of the home [that] is a key element in Victorian Culture.
A direct connection to the concept of domesticity was the distribution of strict roles for all family members which was called the doctrine of separate spheres
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