England during the Victorian era

queen_victoria_by_rafkinswarning-d34xliyHey everyone!

After the Elizabethan era, here’s an article about the Victorian era…

This period begins in 1837 and ends in 1901. It corresponds to queen Victoria’s reign. During this era, the world witnessed numerous changes. Great Britain became the world’s most powerful nation.

Many political changes occurred: The French revolution of 1789 has had a great impact on other countries and in the 1830s, the citizen’s rights in Great Britain were extended, a revolution occurred in Spain, slavery became illegal among the British colonies, Italy celebrated the crowning of its first king and the US civil war began. However, the British governors believed in their political system which spread through the nations. This era was quite peaceful (Victorians thought it was the key to prosperity) except from 1854 to 1856, during the Crimean war.

By 1882, England had built a huge empire and queen Victoria was called : “the queen empress”. A quarter of the world’s population was part of this empire. Missionaries and Christians were sent there to convert the Peoples.

England’s economic status was solid and London became the financial capital of the world.

When Victoria was crowned queen, the industrial revolution (1800-1840) had just begun and there was a rapid economic growth. England drastically transformed into a new place, similar to the one Dickens described in his novels, struggling with child labor, poverty, diseases…Machines were used, railways were built…etc. everything had to be faster (you know what they say: time is money!). Social gaps were still very wide and different casts didn’t “mix”.

Some scientific progresses were also made in Europe: The first computer was invented in 1842 by Charles Babbage (English) and photography was created three years earlier by Daguerre (France)…This era is characterized by its incredible progresses in science, communication, technologies, medicine…etc. . In 1842, the electric telegraph is invented by Cooke and Wheatstone (English). Vaccines were also invented.

For all the curious fellas, here’s a BBC video, very well made about queen Victoria ! : )

Have a nice week end!

(picture credit: Rafkins-Warning deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)

Children’s conditions in the 19th century with Dickens and Hugo

Hey everyone!

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That’s my work for the theme “The writer in his century”. Unfortunately, the girl with whom I worked with was sick on the day of the presentation so I was left all alone, in front of a very scary class and teacher…No, I’m kidding! ^^’ They aren’t THAT fierce…

So… Let me start (Btw: Yay! This blog got over 150 view this month and over 50 visitors, it’s starting to work great, thanks! 😀 ).

As you know, during the 19th century in England, the industrial revolution took place. At that time, children’s conditions got worse: They had to support their families so they worked in factories. Child labor was pretty normal back then and a child (sometimes as young as five years old) would work six days a week and over twelve hours a day. Work injuries were very common and they had no insurance: If they were hurt or sick, they were fired. Most of them had no education and many children were illiterate. In 1870, the government took care of it by making laws but the poorest families couldn’t afford an education until 1891 when the school fees disappeared. Living conditions were very difficult: Poor hygiene, unhealthy or no food, diseases, high infant mortality… The two most terrible and wide-spread diseases were cholera and tuberculosis (and there was no vaccines). Families were used to the idea of losing a child. The situation was pretty similar in France.

Many authors have denounced this industrialized society. Among them are Dickens and Hugo. Through their novels, they have described their society, the social injustices as well as the living conditions…

I) Dickens: Oliver Twist: Misery and Hunger (extract here!):

Through this extract, the author describes the misery in which Oliver Twist lived in and his hunger. Dickens also denounces child exploitation.

Basic storyline: Oliver Twist is a young orphan. At nine years old, he is sent to a workhouse where there is not much food, no affection and hard living conditions.

Analysis:

  • Irony (Black humor)
  • Lexical field of misery and hunger
  • Anaphoras
  • Denunciation of the society through a novel and its characters

II) Hugo, Les Misérables: Poverty and Family (extract here!):

Through this extract, the poverty in the 19th century and the attitude of poor families is shown. As I said earlier, infant mortality was very high so the families didn’t create significant bonds with their children. Most of them had many children. Here, Hugo denounces children being neglected and left alone.

Basic Storyline: Gavroche comes from a poor family who doesn’t love him. He lives in the streets and wanders around. He has no love, no food, no place to stay and finally, no education.

Analysis:

  • Lexical field of poverty and antithesis to underline the drastic living conditions of Gavroche
  • Narrative speech

Hugo denounced through his novel and Gavroche the children’s living conditions in the 19th century.

Thorough the century, laws have been established to protect children and to provide education. Authors have influenced their society by underlining their flaws and denouncing injustice. They have had a very positive impact and have played a role in the evolution of society. As we could witness it,  France and England coped with similar problems and showed similarities concerning their economic and social situation. Other authors such as Blake, Mark Twain, Flaubert, Voltaire or Oscar Wilde have been dealing with such topics.

(picture credit: Eudard-Angelo deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)