Dickens and Wilde were both writers gifted in portraying human conditions in an individualistic and unique way focused on correcting residents in the Victorian period. By 19th century, these literature artists had become famous in articulating Britain’s societal aspects. The 19th century remains a memorable time for Britain, in the fact that the citizens had started appreciating and embracing literature. The two wrote various literary works, some, which criticized the Victorian society negatively, with features such as sexual repression, hypocrisy, narrow-mindedness, and class-consciousness standing out as primary targets. Wilde and Dickens’ writings were vital because they used literary work to criticize society’s morality during the Victorian period.
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During the Victorian period, education was viewed as a priority for individuals pursuing economic stability. Unfortunately, priorities for attending classes were for men’s, and thus, they were the privileged gender. However, Charles could not receive education as expected, as the family outlawed the norm of the period to educate his sister. Even so, Charles received empowerment from friends, including Bob, who inspired him to greater heights (Casenska 41). Charles’ life is a representation of families that lead a poor life, but decide to sacrifice the right to education of one child at the expense of others. In this period, poverty was the leading cause of children involving in early labor as the only way of supplementing family earning. Unlike Charles, Wilde was lucky to get a scholarship as early as 1987, a chance that made the poet attend Magdalen College for schooling. Like Dickens, the author agreed with the societal perception that education was the only way to economic stability for men. Fortunately, even though both had a personalized and unique educational journey, the two clinched onto educational opportunity all-heartedly. Convincingly, the access to schooling opportunity equipped the two scriptwriters to approve learning as a tool for economic success during the Victorian period.
Wilde and Dickens’ literary writings had thematic significance to the Victorian period. The writers tirelessly attacked the aspects of morality as a way of correcting the society. For instance, the middle-class people were not self-driven to helping the poor or even trying to change the poor’s conditions (Jaoolkar and Matkar 53). Even so, the authors’ tales are adversely social related and capturing. These literary artists divulged more into disagreeing with the societal institutions, which were unable to perform the functions they were created for. Children were susceptible to exploitation, and this explains why Dickens is described as a victim of early labor. Further, he offers a feminist study by sympathetically introducing female characters to unravel the Victorians’ immoral perceptions and ideologies towards women. In the same way, to rectify some societal behaviors, Wilde shows aspects of society’s depravity. In 1891, he began an affair with Alfred, also nicknamed as Bosie. As per Marquis’ accusation, Wilde is a homophile individual (Connolly). It is clear that in that period, the society was dirty, with sexual indecencies that did affect both men and women alike. The authors used the way of life to show wicked indulgence that occurred to Victorian society. However, the approachability mechanism, as considered through writing, was varying. At times, Wilde would use his own experience to outline the inadequacies of the Victorian society. In contrast, Dickens used a third-person point of view, yet was still able to correct the societal indecencies, both regarded as dissolute.
Even after marrying and having sons with Constance Lloyd in 1884, Wilde’s private life shows that the political, social, and legal penalties for the transgendered started to worsen in the Victorian period. The idea is realized from Wilde’s poor reputation and his sentencing to two years in prison from gross indecency conviction (Connolly). Prosecution against Wilde as a transvestite victim made the action a norm in the Victorian period, making sex between the same genders an illegal act, that later forced the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. This fact reveals the intolerance of society during the period towards sexual minorities. On the other hand, Dickens prefers using a realistic depiction of his characters to refer to Victorian society and, in the event, enables the readers to cognize the bigotry of the society. For instance, his childhood friends are mainly introduced as orphans (Casenska 47). Esther and Estella, for example, are perceived as living by themselves before being presented as abandoned. The two are adopted, and thus, live low life without a well-wisher willing to offer them a better life. In this manner, Dickens makes it known to the readers that Victorian society was conscious of social stratum levels. Members of the lower class were not permeable to members of the higher stratum. The division is immoral, according to Dickens, because being divisive is supporting discrimination.
Both writers, however, had notable literary achievements. The manner in which the novelists attacked the society’s unappreciative behaviors expressed towards one another shows ideology of achievement. The primary mandate of literary writers is correcting the society, which was precisely what both writers were doing. Wilde, for instance, is famously known as a writer who understands critics. As explained by Duggan, he was one of the leading critics of Charles Dickens’s works. Wilde criticized the Old Curiosity Shop, a novel written by Dickens. The novelist thinks that one needs to have a heart of stone to successfully read Neil’s death, as written by Dickens (Duggan 1). This and other critics contributed to Wilde’s success as a literary novelist. On the other hand, Dickens succeeds by focusing on novels that autonomously address the society. Examples of Dickens’ novels, including Oliver Twist, a Christmas Carol, and Great Expectations, all show writing style that proves he was acting as an autonomous advocate. Another notable point is that both the writers’ quest for a high profile writing career is unique. Wilde did not struggle to reach heights in writing, although Dickens did. Unlike Dickens, Wilde’s schooling opportunity was without much struggle.
The writings had a real effect on the authors’ characterization. For instance, Christmas Carol is a very compelling tale that characterizes Scrooge as a multi-layered and evolving character. Before the story ends, Scrooge undergoes various major transformations from a cantankerous person to amiable. Considerably, it is worth mentioning that one of the best ways to addressing a society in a critiquing manner is by utilizing characters that suit the environment. Transformational characters, such as Scrooge, occur to ensure an individuals’ true natures is noted. Arguably, it is essential to note that forthrightly, Dickens and Wilde are Victorian writers, with the passion of criticizing the society they live in through literary works. Both novelists are commonly known as having outstanding personalities with ego to scrutinize the organization to excellence hence becoming influential writers. The only difference is that their writing is not binding, considering that the technique and way of exposure to storytelling were subjective.
Casenska, Petra. Charles Dickens and the Portrait of Victorian England. Diploma Thesis, South Bohema University, 2016.
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Connolly, Sean. “Wilde Revelations: the life and times of Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900.” Digital Victorians, 2015. Web.
Duggan, Patrick. “The Conflict Between Aestheticism and Morality in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Arts and Sciences Writing Program, Web.
Jaoolkar, Vikas, and Matkar, Poonam. “Victorian Age and Literature”, Journal of Literature, Language and Linguistics, vol. 20, no. 1, 2016, pp. 53-54. Web.