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Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens - Book Report/Review Example

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Summary
The serial novel Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens published around the mid-nineteenth century is a satire on the bureaucracy, society and the existing class difference prevalent in Victorian England. Although not so prominent or famous as his other works, it stands out as an ironical, mature novel peppered with sardonic social observations and pungent remarks…
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Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Download file to see previous pages... During the time it was written (1855-57), social class dominated social life at all levels.
Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain published a few decades later, on the other hand, belongs to the detective genre and deals with the issues of racism and identity. It was Twain's singular achievement to poignantly capture the real nature of racism during the late nineteenth century. Roxy, a young slave woman, fearing for the life of her new-born, exchanges her son with her master's. From this rather simple basic plot Mark Twain creates one of his most entertaining, yet thoughtful novels. Although written nearly forty years after the end of the Civil War, racism was still a predominant issue affecting American society. By 1893-94, when the novel was written, racial discrimination was rampant in American society although buying and selling of slaves was prohibited. This fear and apprehension is poignantly brought out in the anxiety felt by Percy Driscoll's slave, Roxy. "Percy Driscoll slept well the night he saved his house minions from going down the river, but no wink of sleep visited Roxy's eyes. A profound terror had taken possession of her. Her child could grow up and be sold down the river! The thought crazed her with horror."
So while Little Dorrit highlights the deficiencies of the British society in the nineteenth century Pudd'nhead Wi...
For Dickens, class domination seems to be the underhand agenda of the bureaucratic set-up. The red tapism steeped in the upper class bureaucratic machinery helped them maintain a rigid control over the proletariat. He especially mocks the 'Circumlocution Office' that represents government bodies in the utilitarian Victorian age whose officials were infamous for doing nothing as depicted in the character of Barnacles.
This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing...beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving - HOW NOT TO DO IT. (Bk. 1, Ch. 10)
People most illustrious in their public lives are shown most devoid of character such as Merdle, the swindling banker. The whole family suffers due to the harsh treatment meted out to those who cannot repay their debts by the government. Amy Dorrit, the female protagonist of the novel, spends her entire life caring for her father who is imprisoned in the Marshalsea Prison; spending almost his entire lifetime there he is often referred to as 'The Father of Marshalsea'. As such, the novel portrays the traumatic experiences of life in imprisonment both in terms of the suffering of the mind and the body. Dicken's Little Dorrit is a sharp commentary on the hypocrisy of a society that permits such treatment of socially harmless individuals. What is interesting to note in both the novels is the fact that although the debtors in Little Dorrit and the slaves in Pudd'nhead Wilson are both non-violent and unlike criminals, in fact as human as is possible, they are segregated from the rest of the society. The powerful section of the society tries to control them and confines their social ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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