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A Christmas Carol London, Charles Dickens, and A Christmas Carol
Industrial Revolution • began in late 1700’s • before this time, many people lived in rural areas and worked as carpenters, farmers, etc.
Industrial Revolution • The invention of new technology and machinery created new jobs and opportunities in the cities. • Because of that, large numbers of people moved from rural areas to the city.
The City • London was a world city that awed visitors with its size and its squalor, its grandeur and its filth. • Large numbers of people moving to the city caused tremendous overpopulation. This meant many people were homeless and/or living in the streets.
The City • The city did not have adequate sewer systems. Most Londoners of this time were largely unaware of the connection between unsanitary conditions & illness. • Because of that, sewage was allowed to flow into the Thames, and this is where most people also got their drinking water. • There were many outbreaks of disease during this time.
The City • The major form of transportation was horse-drawn vehicles. This added up to an incredible amount of manure which had to be removed from the streets.
The City • Because of the Industrial Revolution, there were many new factories, most of which were run by burning coal. Thousands of chimneys pumped coal smoke into the air, and the soot seemed to settle everywhere.
The City • Add all of this to the fog in London, and this city was yucky!
The Classes • The economic conditions created 2 distinct classes of people - very rich & poor.
The Classes • For the poor, most members of the family would work at a different factory. • Days would typically begin at 5:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. The wages were very low. The poor were treated very badly. Destitution was seen as a result of character weakness.
The Classes • The 1834 Poor Law Amendment was designed to deter people from claiming poor relief (welfare). • Those claiming relief were sent to workhouses and conditions were intentionally bad to encourage people to work.
Life Before The Carol • At the beginning of the Victorian period, the celebration of Christmas was in decline. The Industrial Revolution allowed workers little time for the celebration of Christmas.
A Little More About Charles Dickens • Born Feb. 7, 1812; had 6 brothers and sisters
A Little More About Charles Dickens • Father was in and out of workhouses so Charles left school to work in a factory gluing labels on shoe polish. • He eventually finished school and got work in a law office. He later found work as a newspaper writer (journalist).
A Little More About Charles Dickens • His writing career flourished and he began to publish his novels in serial form. This was like a chapter at a time. His work became very popular.
The Carol and its Influence • When A Christmas Carol was published, it was the first time that Dickens published a book all at one time. • It took him about 6 weeks to write the book.
The Carol and its Influence • The novel was immediately successful and sold well until the next summer.
The Carol and its Influence • Dickens hoped that his book would encourage people to have the “Christmas spirit” year round. He wanted the poor treated fairly.
The Carol and its Influence • After the books publication, the Christmas season changed dramatically. The first Christmas cards were sent, decorating trees became popular, and family feasts became typical.
The Carol and its Influence • When Dickens died, a young girl in London was quoted as saying, “Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?”