A Lack of Charity Essay example

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In Charles Dickens’s books, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol, the theme of lack of charity is pronounced. Throughout Oliver Twist, society turns a “cold shoulder” to those in need of help (Miller 30). The Victorian England society prohibits inhabitants of the lower social realms from moving up in society. Rarely do lower class members receive attention, and the attention they do receive is far from par (Reeves). Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character of A Christmas Carol, learns to be charitable through a lesson on the true meaning of Christmas. At the beginning of the book, Scrooge is a grumpy old mad, who only cares about himself, but on Christmas Eve, his visions of ghosts turn his life around (Boan).

As a child, Dickens becomes a
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Believing that the rich should freely take care of the poor and not be forced to, Dickens criticizes those who overlook the destitution of the lower class (Orwell). In Oliver Twist, Dickens proclaims, “So they established the rule, that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody, not they,) of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it” (36). This rule that Dickens mentions is a replica of the Poor Law of 1834. The Prime Minister of Great Britain enforces this law to oppress the poor. People are forced to labor in the terrible conditions of workhouses or receive no help. Created to detest people from wanting to receive aid, these workhouses condition is not fit for living (Cannon).

Due to the terrible conditions at the workhouse, Oliver runs away and finds security with a man named Fagin. Fagin controls a gang of small boys that pickpocket as a source of income. Their wages supplement Fagin enough to stay out of the working class but keep the boys trapped. Fagin is a representation of the laissez-faire capitalist thinking (Miller 39-40). Fagin states:
…you depend upon me. To keep my little business all snug, I depend upon you. The first is your number one, the second my number one. The more you value your number one, the more careful you must be of mine; so we come at last to what I told you at first--that a regard for number one holds us all

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