A Child of the Jago by Arthur Morrison

1665 Words Jul 11th, 2018 7 Pages
Arthur Morrison’s A Child of the Jago (1896) is intrinsically linked to the social class system and poverty. The novel is set and published during the late Victorian age, a period in which the working class experienced a relentless struggle against the harsh realities of social and working conditions. Moreover, in his paper The Working Class in Britain 1850-1939, John Benson highlights the disparities between the poor and the economy during the era as a result of the Industrial revolution and urbanisation(Benson, 2003,p.30). Although, Benson's argument is valid when focusing on a social novel such as A Child of the Jago; because through his childhood the protagonist Dickie Perrot commits heinous crimes and becomes incredibly defiant in the …show more content…
It is important to note that there were attempts to regulate and control crime in the Victorian legal system because violent crime became less intolerable over the course of the late nineteenth century and this will be further examined later on in the paper.

Although, 'nineteenth century London was... the largest and richest urban agglomeration in the world' ( Ball and Sunderland, 2004, p.3 ) , the East End 's dense population of 1 million (Walkowitz, 1992, p.29) enables Morrison 's text to paradoxically feed into the problematic issues of

overcrowding and sanitary problem in the East End. This is evident when he comments on the infrastructure of the sewerage system ' great rats, followed one ano- ther quickly between the posts in the gut by the High Street'... none ever slept without a light, because of three sorts of vermin that light in some sort keeps at bay' (Morrison, 1896).

Morrison's poignant comment on social ramification in East London has been further developed by Charles Booth . In 1886, he conducted a social investigation and found that thirty percent of London's population lived below the poverty line and argued that it was unemployment rather than the individual’s behaviour. (Smith and Dorling et al., 2001) . 'The two maps, both from Booths survey, gives some sense of the scale and scope of the demographic shift that occurred and is a dramatic example
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