In this activity, students will consider the economic and political context that informs Charles Dickens’s famous novella, A Christmas Carol. Dickens’s message to his readership is clear: acknowledge the plight of the poor; attend to their needs; or ignore them at your peril. The 19th century was a time of immense poverty and great philanthropy: in this activity, students will evaluate the impact of economic and social policy and consider how Dickens responded to ‘The Condition of England’ question.
Key questions in this lesson:
- How were the poor represented during the first half of the 19th century?
- What changes occurred during the second half of the 19th century that affected how the poor were perceived and treated?
- Where does Dickens stand in relation to ‘The Condition of England’ question?
- What action does Dickens propose to alleviate the plight of the poor?