Victorian Class Analysis

2321 Words 10 Pages
It is true to suggest that the depiction of the working class changes from the sympathetic to the threatening during the Victorian period?

The differences between plebeians and bourgeois during the Victorian period progressed from condole the working class to threatened by them. Regardless of the sentimental portrayal to a sympathetic representation of the working class, that Charles Dickens has presented in his novels, the Victorians shared an anxiety of revolution in the middle and upper class affecting the plebeians and causing total chaos in the society. However one author, Elizabeth Gaskell, touches both issues in North and South, portraying empathy for the workers but also enabling a threat against the factory owner. There is a wide
…show more content…
Improvements in technology led to industrialism, that created a wealth rise of the middle class but a decrease in business practices. Simultaneously, scientific discoveries attacked the position of the Church through Charles Darwin’s theories about evolution, making the Victorian society question their previous beliefs and whether or not they originate from animals, such as monkeys. Even the poorest society found their life to be harder than before because the market favourited the factories over agriculture, forcing a large number of farmers to move to the city and seek jobs in a factory to prevent starvation. Altogether, the situation was overwhelming causing degeneration to the society and cities, mainly to the working class. For the middle and upper class, this meant optimism and beneficial but for many writers, it was an aspect that would change everything, an injustice to the working class. Focusing on this aspect, Dickens was a “rock star” (Rahn, 2011) when it comes to writing novels about the Victorian society during those changes. Thinking of change, one cannot not mention the little rights women had in the 19 Th. century, the way they fought to change it causing a significant number of feminists moves and writers sharing their views on the system and what should be done. A few of the names that one can recall counting are Christina Rossetti and the Bronte sisters. …show more content…
century, in novels of Dickens, Bronte, Gaskell and Eliot will make possible the ‘entrance’ of the term gentleman in the Victorian fiction, in the second half of the 19 Th. century novel. The term gentleman suggests an impartial usage and that can be found in any man, no matter his social status. Agreeing with this statement is Samuel Smiles, that presents in The True Gentleman a key characteristic of a gentleman “a great heart is not denied even to the poorest” existing “under the hodden grey of the peasant as well as under the laced coat of the noble” (Smiles, 1859). This type of changes will become familiar in novels such as The Unclassed by George Gissing or Felix Holt by George Eliot. The novels in the second half of the 19 Th. century will also unveil the invisible working class woman, as a central character and the rewriting of the fallen women. As Johnson says in reference to Charles Dickens’s Hard Times, "The dead factory girl in heaven becomes the image through which all conflict--both domestic and political--will be magically resolved" (Johnson, 2001). As I have shown, the changes of the working class provide adequate accounts under consideration of sympathy and threat. The late Victorian period saw a significant change in education, plebeians rights and industrialisation. Particularly attention has been drawn upon the central role of the working class and an appearance of the labour

Related Documents