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Word Count: 635
Charles Dickens lived during a time of great social change in Europe Having published novels during the late 19th century the subject of his writing typically focused on class structure poverty and treatment of the especially underprivileged Dickens was particularly interested in the years immediately precedingand leading up to his own adulthood Between the 1770s and the 1840s England underwent a sweeping transformation from a sleepy agrarian society to an intensely industrial one For the first time the English merchant was able to acquire wealth and power the likes of which had previously only been available to the noble However the flip side of this situation was that England acquired a new class of poor people -- ones that were even poorer than their predecessors The fate of the new poor is described unflinchingly in Charles Dickens shortest novel Hard Times In similar theme comes the novel Great Expectations which is both an absorbing mystery as well as a morality tale It centers around the story of Pip Philip Pirrip a poor village boy and his expectations of wealth First published serially in 1860-61 it was released as a book in 1861 Great Expectations was certainly one of its authors greatest critical and popular successes The story is told as a first person narrative with Pip explaining his life and times Raised by his unpleasant older sister and her husband the first evidence of friendship in the book is the relationship between Pip and his brother-in-law Joe Gargery However the reader learns in Chapter Two how Pip views their relationship Has she been gone long Joe I always treated him as a larger species of child and as no more than my equal Dickens depictions of poverty were often quite profound Indeed every society has had its poor and the poor never live as well as the rich But there is a difference between say a teenaged girl like A Christmas
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