Status, Virtue and Bestowing Charity Beyond the Sea

By April Oldford

April's ScanCharles Dickens’ Bleak House is social problem novel, regarding the terrible conditions for those living in Victorian England and a scathing critique of those among society who remained indifferent on the subject, particularly those whom Dickens’ felt concerned themselves with “telescopic philanthropy,” that is, charity with a narrowed focus on issues external to Britain, rather than issues closer to home (Dickens 52). One of the charitable targets of Dickens’ criticisms was Caroline Chisholm, the founder of the Family Colonization Loan Society, a foundation that “transferred Great Britain’s poor, unemployed and starving from the slums of London, Liverpool, Manchester, and other Continue reading

The Problem with Charity: A Review of Charity and Race in Victorian England

By K. P.

Punch ScanIn 1841, Henry Mayhew and Ebenezer Landells founded a weekly satirical magazine entitled Punch, or The London Charivari. It was published from 1841 until 2002 and primarily focused on politics of the era (Punch Magazine). All of the articles were published anonymously under the title character “Mr. Punch,” which allowed writers and editors to share their opinions without any fear of judgment and produced a more unified voice that helped the paper successfully make its point (Punch Magazine). Since this magazine was released weekly, sold for three pennies, and included picture and text, its target audience would appear to be the middle class. Continue reading

Representations of Charity and Poverty in Bleak House and Household Words

By Lindy Carter

 pauperpalace_1 In 1850, three years prior to the publication of Bleak House, Household Words ran an article entitled “A Day in a Pauper Palace,” a narrative article describing a visit to a boarding school for poor children, most of them orphans. This boarding school, in fact a Tudor mansion, educated pauper children and prepared them for the working world. The article describes the school in a positive way, expounding on the particulars of the grounds, lessons, and pleasant nature of the children. The author is in favour of educating poor children, making the argument that they should not be punished for the “misdeeds” of their parents (“Pauper Palace” 361). This is consistent with evidence from Bleak House that shows, through the characters of Esther and Jo, the difference education can make in the life of an orphan. Continue reading