Social and Economic Issues of The 19th Century

Social and Economic Issues Reflected in "A Christmas Carol" by Olivia Peterson 

"Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business (Stave 1, pg. 71)!" This image is of sixpence. A sixpence is a coin that was used during the 19th century.During the 19th century how much money you made and how successful you were was very important. People's main focus was becoming wealthy. This lead people to be greedy and non charitable with their money.
"They would rather die...they had better do it and decrease the surplus population (Stave 1 pg. 63)." The drive for need of money and success made the upper class ignorant and careless towards lower classes. Some upper class believed the poor did not belong and deserved to be were they were. I selected this picture, because I feel the men carry themselves with a feeling of self-importance and ignorance.
"It is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir (Stave 1)." The upper class were indifferent and lacked compassion the poor. They also did not feel like it was their responsibility to worry about the well-being of others. I selected this picture, because portrays how the street life of city beggar might be like.
“Are there no prisons?...Are there no Union workhouses?...The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then? (Stave 1 pg. 12)." This is picture is of two beggars in the street. The poor barely had means of supporting themselves. Often times the establishments for the poor were not the nicest and were generally full. They had no where to go. They had to turn to non-preferable ways of making money such as prostitution, singing and, begging on the streets.
"Dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence (Stave 3 pg. 70)." This quote is a great way of describing how people of the lower class dressed. They could not afford a lot so they just had to make do with what they had. I choose this picture, because it displays the type of clothing women of a lower class might have worn.
"They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling,wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shriveled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds...(Stave 3)." Children never went to school. They never learned how to read or write. Only the upper class got those privilege. Many of the unprivileged children would turn to crime and violence in order to stay alive. Sometimes kids were left to take care of themselves.This picture is a good example of children that have been neglected and now have to find their own way to live.
"They left the busy scene, and went into an obscure part of the town, where Scrooge had never penetrated before, although he recognised its situation, and its bad repute. The ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly. Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offenses of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery (Stave 4)." The 19th century was based on Victorian society. In "A Christmas Carol" all levels of society are represented. Scrooge is used to represent the rich. Carfrield is used to represent the poor. Even the thieves and people that do not really belong anywhere are represented in the underground city.I selected this picture to because it displays people of different classes.
"A tremendous family to provide for (Stave 3 pg. 64)." Often with lower class family it was hard to provide for a large family. In "A Christmas Carol",Bob Cratchit's family was fairly big and poor, but his family was able to stay optimistic about things. I decided to do this picture, represents that even during times of poverty and misfortune your family can be all that you need.
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you (Shave 1 pg.131-132)?" This quote is about free will. In “A Christmas Carol”, Marley/Scoorge are given the choice to not behave greedy and selfish. The higher class people also had the same choice help the poor or not. The problem is only a few people tried to help out. This picture represent greed in a different way, but it can still be used to represent the greed and selfishness of the people at the time.
"I will live in the Past, the Present, and Future!...The Spirits of of all Three shall strive within me (Stave 5)." At the end of "A Christmas Carol", Scrooge had a complete change of heart and decided to be more caring towards. I believe that towards the end of the 19th century people started to realize what they were doing and they felt bad about it. I chose this picture because it represents the shame and pain people probably felt.
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