The Consequences Of Socioeconomic Inequality As Portrayed By Tale Of Two Cities

2187 words - 9 pages

The Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequality as Portrayed by Tale of Two Cities

Frederick Douglass once said, “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” He meant that if people are oppressed, one day they will pass their breaking point and fight back. As a consequence neither side will be safe or secure as violence and terror would corrupt them both. In A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the author employs satire, symbolism, and irony to emphasize the social/economic inequality between the wealthy and the poor. The inequality is revealed by Dicken’s satirical description of the lifestyles of Monsignor of Chocolate and the Marquis Evrémonde. In contrast with the people in the wine cask scene; the scene indicates that the people are on their breaking point. Finally, the irony of the trials emphasizes Dicken’s warning to the upper class of England during the 1850s; if they abuse power then vengence will be sought. If action is not taken, England will be engulfed in violence and both the aristocracy and the peasants will suffer.
Charles Dickens, an English writer and social critic, lived in England from 1812 to 1870 (Cody). Dickens usually critiques topics important to him or those that have affected him throughout his life. He grew up poor and was forced to work at an early age when his father was thrown into debtors prison (Cody). As he became a popular and widely known author he was an outspoken activist for the betterment of poor people’s lives (Davis). He wrote A Tale of Two Cities during the 1850s and published the book in 1859 (Cody). During this time there was a great class divide in which the poor were extremely poor while the rich were extremely rich. The lowest class included laborers, they averagely made a wage that would just barely cover their expenses. However low wages meant sparse diets and heavy labor. (“The Working Classes and The Poor”) These conditions would result in revolts against the rich. Others without jobs would have to either beg, do odd jobs or go to a workhouse; none of the options were that appealing. When begging, children would often be maimed to receive more money (“The Working Classes and The Poor”). The workhouses, on the other hand, were created for the poor by the rich, but designed to deter them with appalling conditions and intense labor ("The Working Classes and The Poor"). On the other end of this spectrum were the wealthy, with lavish lifestyles and more than enough money to feed themselves. The rich lived in massive estates in luxury and had plenty of time for leisure activities. The activities included croquet, tennis, family picnics, theater, and many sporting events (“Being Victorian - The Middle/Upper Class”). The upper class usually hosted or attended many extravagant parties. Many families also...

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