Extension English: Conventions of the victorian novel. Related text: Great expectations - Charles Dickens

Essay by savmanHigh School, 11th gradeA-, November 2004

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The Victorian era was an age of a desolate lower class being ruled by a callous upper class. This society contained extreme prejudice, ignorance, apathy, and above all, it was superficial. These aspects provided excellent material for novels of the Victorian era. The Victorian novels documented the attitudes and historic significance and were generally concerned with seven primary concerns developed in the Victorian era. These were the adjustment of the main character, the search for identity, the question of the gentleman, the industrial scene, religion, unbelief and doubt and the British Empire. Charles Dickens, a famous author from the Victorian era, investigated these concerns and expressed them in novels such as 'Great expectations'.

During the Victorian era, Britain led the western world towards industrialisation and invention; as a result of this people began to flow into the urban areas. This invited a new level of prosperity for Britain; enforcing its position as economically supreme.

This influx of wealth divided the people into 'two nations'; the rich and the poor. While the upper class benefited from the increase in affluence, the poor society remained so, and was ignorant of the upper class' wealth. In the same way, the upper class was ignorant of the lifestyles of the underprivileged working class as they were bred differently, and were not governed by the same laws as the poor; most of the time creating the laws the poor had to abide by. This presented unsympathetic and arduous living conditions for the poor, forcing them to revert to crime in order to survive. For these crimes they were further punished with harsh sentences established by those more fortunate.

The central theme in the Victorian novel is the adjustment of the main character to a middle- class world, and his/her approval...