Victorian Literature

2844 Words12 Pages
Viktor E. Frankl, the Austrian psychologist, once stated that “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves”. A Victorian society condemned to a period of forced adjustment into a life of despotism, as a result of radical change and revolution, dictatorial upper-class tyranny and a life absent of pleasure and happiness, serves as an example of the great psychologist’s words. The industrialisation and development of Britain acted as a major catalyst for the way society would respond, reforming the lives of many. Not only did the British industrial revolution of the nineteenth century enforce drastic social reforms, it also shaped Victorian literature. Great literary authors exposed the injustices and the gruelling living conditions that mainly the working-class faced, exploring their meaning and purpose as individuals forced to conform to controversial changes , as the industrial world around them, was becoming increasingly uncertain. Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson and Robert Louis Stevenson, were amongst the authors at the forefront of Victorian literature who aimed to uncover the injustices faced by the majority of Victorian society. In Dickens’s industrial novel Hard Times, the writer highlights the struggles and hardships in an unpredictable and uncertain Victorian world, socially and economically. Dickens sets the novel in mid-nineteenth century Britain, where the progression of technology decreased the value of humans, giving them little to no sense of worth, particularly in the workplace. The labourers of the factories were referred to as “hands” in the novel by their wealthier superiors, considered just as physical beings devoid of emotion or complexity. The metonym is used by... ... middle of paper ... ...into what was socially acceptable. In actuality, Victorian individuals were desperate to escape from the shackles of social rigidity and depression, to seek a happier and more leisurely lifestyle, where they could express their withdrawn emotions. Works Cited 1. Dickens, Charles (1854) Hard Times. England: Bradbury and Evans 2. Stevenson, Robert Louis (1885) The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Bournemouth, England: Longmans, Green & co 3. Tennyson, Lord Alfred (1891) The Complete Works. England: New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company 4. Victorian Web. URL: < >. Web. [Accessed November 2013] 5. Schmoop. URL: <>. Web. [Accessed November 2013] 6. SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” SparkNotes LLC. 2003. URL : Web. [Accessed November 2013]
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