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Kelley
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PostSubject: Chapters 1-4   Sun Jan 21, 2007 7:55 pm

This forum is for thoughts related to Chapters 1-4.
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Karen

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PostSubject: Re: Chapters 1-4   Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:15 pm

we find ourselves in England viewing the poor class in the city after finihed a book about the midle class and upper class which took place in the country about 30 years earlier. we find that things ohave gotten even worse for the poor and that the middle and upper class ignore their situation feeling they have already done teir best by instituting the 'workhouses' and not wnting to make it too comfortable fo the lazy poor, barely finance it. People in charge are corrupt and steal even more.
I like dickens style of writng and think I will like this book. I know the premise but haven't read it or seen the film.
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Minimoosey

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PostSubject: Re: Chapters 1-4   Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:48 pm

I'm reading the edition by The Modern Library and it has a section in it called "Dickens and the Poor British Laws." This section gives a history that Charles Dickens was born into the middle class and because of the times his father was sentenced to Marshalsea debtors' prision. At age 12 Charles Dickens was pulled out of school and had to work in a rat infested factory where he labeled bottles of blacking, the shoe polish mentioned thoughout Oliver Twist.

One of the Pool Laws was made to combat the labor shortage following the epidemic of the bubonic plague in the middle of the fourteenth century. This outlawed able-bodied people from not working. This drew distinction between the people who didn't want to work and the ones who couldn't work. A second law put the burden of the beggars on the city that they lived in. Harsh punishments were given to beggars and vagabonds. (Act 1494).

They stated that trends in the fifteenth and sixteenth century were made due to feudalism (landlords of plantations taking care of their careworkers) and monasteries backed down on helping the poor. As the industrial revolution was increasing, people were flocking to the cities for work. This put the burden to the smallest local governments and parishes to help the poor. Laws were enacted by the Parliment to assist the impoverished. It was during that time that the "workhouses" were built. These workhouses were nothing more than a prison for vagrants to be imprisoned for their misfortune. The churchwardens and landlords were taxed to keep up the workhouses. The workhouses were made to be horrific to not encourage the weak and poor. The families who entered were split up and the children were farmed out to outlying areas for a fee.

A very interesting point was made of unwed mothers. They had the sole responsibility of taking care of their offspring. Fathers were legally free of responsibility.

These laws stayed in effect for over 200 years. The New Poor Law of 1834 was entirely abolished in 1929 when Parliment enacted the Local Government Law.

"All information gathered from The Modern Library edition of Oliver Twist."

HAPPY READING.


Last edited by on Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:27 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Chapters 1-4   Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:00 pm

According the the novelist George Gissing, "Oliver Twist had a twofold moral purpose to exhibit the evil working of the Poor Law Act, and to give a faithful picture of the life of thieves in London."

How effective is Dickens in capturing these two worlds and what is the relationship between them?

How does the author use social satire to advocate social reform?


Question from The Modern Library - Reading Group Guide
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PostSubject: Re: Chapters 1-4   Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:08 pm

As far as the first four chapters go we are introduced to the Victorian society of poverty. Knowing some backgorund of the author helps us understand where he is coming from.

The previous post that I made helps me understand the time and setting.
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Chapters 1-4   Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:56 am

What a contrast we see in Oliver Twist and the culture he lives in compared to those in Pride and Prejudice. Although these books were written and occur with in a short time frame in England. It is interesting to read the commentary of the author's lives that describes how they were raised, and the desires they had to move up in class v. survive.

These first four chapters in conjunction with the context from SparkNotes and a great history of Poor Laws (from Marti and Wikipedia), have laid down a thorough picture of the world that Oliver is growing up in.
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