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The Water Babies and Victorian Childhood - Essay Example

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The focus of this paper "The Water Babies and Victorian Childhood" is to critically evaluate the depiction of Victorian childhood and a consideration of how children lived during the Victorian era with a contextual reference to various Victorian literature sources…
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The Water Babies and Victorian Childhood
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Download file to see previous pages At the outset it is submitted that the diverse nature of Victorian literature highlighted how “novels became a means through which readers defined their social identity and formed their attitudes to such issues as nationalism, gender differences and the nature of the family” (James 2006, p.xi). To this end, the Victorian novel developed as a realist concept.

For example, on the one hand, in Oliver Twist, Dickens utilises dramatic irony and satire within lengthy descriptive sentence paragraphs in order to highlight the situation of many poor homeless children. For example, in the preface to the 1841 edition, Dickens depicts the “cold, wet, shelterless, midnight streets of London; the foul and frowsy dens, where vice is closely packed and lacks room to turn; the haunts of hunger and disease; the shabby rages that scarcely hold together – where are the attraction of these things?”

The paragraph is comprised of a characteristically long sentence, listing the dire circumstances faced by the children. Moreover, the use of alliteration and assonance further highlight the predicament of homeless children and the use of words with reference to “foul” and “vice” depicts the reality of lost innocence of children. This is further heightened when Dickens reverses the Victorian puritanical blame back onto the upper echelons of society by creating a pause followed by the rhetorical question “- where are the attraction of these things?” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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