Charles Dickens and the social novel
Dickens in his social novel denounces all bad conditions of working class, and in particular the exploited children’s life into the workhouses: they were places born with the hypocritical intent to help and improve the condition of poor people. But in reality ,there, people was treated in a very inhuman way: long hours of work, unhealthy conditions, little food and clothing, and hard rules to observe. Dickens also describes in a very detailed way the setting of his novels: the city of London. It is characterized by squalid slums, in which people are forced to commit crimes in order to escape from misery. In this way, through this deep critical view of the society, the author wants only to make aware wealthier people about this real social condition, without any revolutionary intent. Dickens , then focused his attention on the figure of the child: he is the most exploited worker, who undergoes the worse treatments and suffers more than the others. So, he is a model of good behavior because the bad experiences have formed him and paradoxally he is the moral teacher instead of the taught, better than his own parents. This figure appears mostly in the novel "Oliver Twist": the protagonist is a child who moves in a degenerated London and experiences the hard and poor life, but at the end his good behavior will be rewarded: he will meet the fortune, while all bad people will know a bad end.