Theme Of Little Dorrit

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Nineteenth century literature often deals with very dark and gruesome themes in the gothic tradition. Another theme that proves to be prevalent in nineteenth century literature is issue of class. Charles Dickens’ novel, Little Dorrit, deals with issues of living at the different levels of socio-economic class. Dickens first published Little Dorrit in 1857, less than a decade after Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto. The Manifesto is a book that takes a critical look at the status of those at the different levels of the socioeconomic classes. Marx and Engels write that class struggle only exists because there is the idea of class. If we were to eliminate class, as well as a need for financial compensation from our …show more content…
As the chronology of Dickens’ life in the “Penguin Classics” 2003 republication of Little Dorrit points out that in 1824, twelve years after the birth of Charles Dickens, his father was put into the Marshalsea Debtor’s prison. It also claims that in the same year, Dickens was employed in a blacking warehouse, labeling bottles (Dickens vii). This connects Dickens directly with many of the characters that he writes in his novels. This account of Dickens’ life associates him more directly with Amy Dorrit, a character whose father is in the Debtor’s Prison, and Amy must work to sustain herself. Dickens is aware of the struggles of being in the lower class. Many of these issues are exemplified in Little Dorrit. One of the most obvious issues of having little money in society is the possibility of being put into a debtor’s prison. The Dorrit family has been in a debtor’s prison for quite a long time. Amy Dorrit was birthed and raised in the prison until her family came into money. Life in the Marshalsea prison was anything but pleasant since it is, after all, a prison. As Trey Philpotts writes in his article “The Real Marshalsea”, the most striking feature of the Debtor’s prison “was its cramped and constricted nature” (Philpotts 137). He also writes that it was “an incredibly small space to house what was often well over 100 debtors, their 50 or so family members, and a handful of Admiralty prisoners” (137). Dickens also writes about the poor conditions of the Marshalsea and characterises it through dreary and dark imagery. Dickens introduces the Marshalsea, claiming that it is in fact, no longer there and “the world is none the worse without it” (Dickens 72). The fact that main characters live within the Marshalsea prison and the narrator recognises the negative aspects of this residence points to the idea that the Marshalsea is not an acceptable place to

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