The Coming of the Railway" from Dombey and Son

Essay by rockerchikUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2005

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Dickens' piece "The Coming of the Railway" from Dombey and Son was very powerful in

illustrating the impact of the Industrial Revolution. The visuals come as shock from the

past two weeks with the Romantics look at nature and the beauty of the English

landscape, and have brought us back to Blake's "London". Well, such is the bane of

progress. To begin, the piece starts off by describing the emergence of a new railroad in

the city, with creates some interesting visuals. Dickens writes "here, a chaos of carts,

overthrown and jumbled together, lay topsy-turvy at the bottom of a steep unnatural hill;

there, confused treasures of iron soaked and rusted in something that had accidentally

become a pond" (1056). The visuals in this line show the contrast between nature and

man-made, for what was once perfect, symmetrical, and possibly colorful, is

now "unnatural", "iron-soaked", "rusted", and ultimately and accident.

The earth has

been severely altered all for the sake of technology, to the point where the earth itself no

longer exists. He then follows up the last sentence by further describing the radical

changes technology, in the form of the railroad has brought, stating

"Everywhere were bridges that led nowhere; thoroughfares that were wholly

impassable; Babel towers of chimneys, wanting half their height; temporary wooden

houses and enclosures, in the most unlikely situations; carcasses of ragged tenements,

and fragments of unfinished walls and arches and piles of scaffolding, and wildernesses

of bricks, and giant forms of cranes, and tripods straddling above nothing" (1056).

Life is forever changed, and the chaos of technology is seen in the ever-changing

landscape of the city as described by Dickens. Buildings reaching toward the sky,

bridges that span rivers for no reason, whatever else technology feels the need to build it...