Charles Dickens and the Victorian Age

My favourite lecture is exploring the similarities between the Victorian era and our own. There are in fact so many similarities given the amount of new technology that the Victorians had to deal with. But the questions that arise from this topic are huge: Is the world becoming a better place (as the Victorians predicted)? Is technology consuming the best part of our creative spirit (as Carlyle seemed to suggest)? Will we, with all our technologies,  be seen as ants caught in a trap of our own creation in years to come? Question follows question! Listen to the student responses right here. First we discussed the Victorian Age in general:


Then in tutorials we went on to explore the way in which Charles Dickens brings the ugliness of Victorian England into such sharp focus in Chapter 5 of his Hard Times: 



Blog Questions arising from lecture week 6: Victorianism & Dickens.


*Write a letter to Queen Victoria reminding her of her social responsibility to the poor and disadvantaged.


*Write a paragraph-long description of your suburb highlighting the mechanistic and inhumane aspects of the environment. Use Dickens’s description of Coketown as a template for your own description.


*Write a description of Coketown that takes Coketown to mean Coca-Cola rather than coking coal. Use Dickens’s description as a model.

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*Write a letter to your state parliamentarian telling him how your suburban environment is being effectively destroyed by eroding the natural landscape and putting high-rise apartments in the place of shrubs and trees.


*Find and out and write a report on the extent to which Dickens’s writing actually had a definite impact on the laws that regulated working conditions in England in the 19th Century.


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