Institute of Foreign Languages Faculty of Languages and Cultures

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Характеристика английского общества по роману Чарльза Диккенса Большие надежды - StudentLib
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Institute of Foreign Languages
Faculty of Languages and Cultures
Course paper
Tema: Characteristics of English society based on the novel "Great Expectations"by Charles Dickens
student of 302 a / n group
Dolmatova M. V.
Scientific supervisor:
Professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences
Zassedateleva L. B.

Moscow, 2010

Table of contents


Historiography of the problem
1. General information about the English people
1. 1 Ethnic history
1.2 English home culture
1.3 Ancient life and costume of Anglo-Saxons and Englishmen
1.4 Folk and modern costumes
1.5 Food
1.6 Marriage and family
1.7 Spiritual culture
2. Characteristics of English society based on the novel "Great Expectations"by Charles Dickens
2.1 Housing
2.2 Clothing
2.3 Food
2.4 Funeral rite
List of used literature

  1. Introduction

The subject of my work is " Characteristics of English Society based on the novel "Great Expectations"by Charles Dickens. The relevance of the topic lies in the fact that we have almost no research on this issue. In order to characterize English society, I had to turn to the history of England. Consider the impact on English society of such factors as: foreign and domestic policy, economic development of the country on culture, the life of the bourgeoisie and just the people of Britain in the XIX century.

England, which emerged victorious from the wars with its main rival - Napoleonic France, in 1815-1816. experienced all the consequences of a severe economic crisis. The end of the war hit the industry hard. Factories closed, blast furnaces went out, and thousands of people working in steel plants and mines were left without work. The number of unemployed people has increased.
The national debt weighed heavily on England's financial situation.
The Parliament passed a law on the introduction of high import duties on bread. The "grain laws" had a very heavy impact on the situation of the working masses. Since 1815, labor strikes to raise wages have become frequent.
The years 15-1848 were the end of the industrial Revolution in England. Huge factory cities sprang up, supplying the whole world with their products. London has become a global banking center. England was covered by a network of highways and canals. The first steamer was launched.
As a result of the industrial revolution by mid-century
the proletariat and the bourgeoisie became classes. The richest class in English society was the factory bourgeoisie. However, political power remained in the hands of aristocratic landowners and financial tycoons. From 1812 to 1827, the government of "inveterate Tories"was in power.
During this period, there was a struggle for electoral reform. At the rallies, the radicals demanded a change in the electoral system. But the Torrian government refused to accept the electoral reform project and resigned in November 1830. In March 1831, the Whigs came to power, led by Prime Minister Gray . An assistant to the Prime Minister introduced a draft reform bill. A struggle for reform began within Parliament; the bill was supported by a majority of the House of Commons, while the House of Lords twice rejected the proposed bill. In May 1832, the Grey government secured a promise from William IV to appoint 60 new peers to the House of Lords who would not interfere with the bill's passage.
In June 1832, the bill became law. The struggle ended with the victory of the bourgeoisie, which managed to achieve it by involving the broad masses of the people in the movement. The Gray Government introduced a number of other reforms that were intended to strengthen the bourgeoisie politically and economically.
In June 1836, a group of highly skilled workers and artisans formed the London Workers ' Association, which was intended to promote the extension of voting rights to workers.
Almost simultaneously with the London Workers ' Association, a Democratic Association was formed in 1837, which united the industrial proletarians, as well as the poorest population of the London suburbs. This was the beginning of the Chartist movement . In the spring of 1838, a draft of a new law on electoral reform was published, which was called the people's charter( in English - charter); hence the name of the entire movement. The Charter contained six points:

  1. grant the right to vote to all men from the age of 21;

  2. secret voting;

  3. dividing the whole of England into different constituencies, sending one representative to parliament;

  4. annual parliamentary elections;

  5. no property qualification for admission to elections;

  6. remuneration of members of parliament.

A petition to the Parliament (petition) was drawn up, which included all six points of the Charter. A Chartist Convention was convened in London on February 4, 1839. He was supposed to organize the collection of signatures for the petition and submit it to Parliament. The petition was delivered to the parliament, and about 1 million 200 thousand signatures were collected under it. On July 12, 1839, the House of Commons declined to discuss the petition. This ended the first initial period of Chartism . The economic crisis of 1837-1839 and the decline of industry as a result of the crisis further increased the hardships of the working class.
The second petition of 1842 was characterized by more explicit demands and evidence of the growing class consciousness of the English proletariat. The petition demanded that workers be granted political rights and made social demands - the elimination of political debts, a reduction in the income of the church, the abolition of the aristocracy's monopoly on land ownership. On May 2, 1842, the petition was delivered to Parliament. The Chamber again declined to discuss the petition .
In the spring of 1847, a new upsurge of the Chartist movement began in England, which was intensified by the development of the commercial and industrial crisis of 1847. Rallies were held across the country, ending with the signing of a third petition demanding the introduction of the charter. Parliamentary elections were held for the first representative of the working class in the House of Commons, Fergus O'Connor.
On April 4, the Chartist convention met again in London, which was supposed to present a third petition to the House of Commons, this time with 5 million signatures. It was decided that on April 10, 1848, a grand demonstration of the Chartists would be held in London. By April 10, delegations from all major cities of the country began to arrive in London. But the government was preparing for this. It has urgently dug up an old law dating back to the time of Charles II and on the basis of it declared the demonstration illegal. The Queen and her family were taken out of the capital for safety reasons. More than 12,000 soldiers were deployed and 250,000 constables were mobilized. Heavy artillery was installed on the bridges over the Thames.
April Kennington Common, where almost 100 thousand Chartists gathered, was surrounded by troops, and announced that the demonstration was banned by the authorities. After that, the petition, which weighed more than 17 pounds, was loaded onto the tracks and O'Connor took it to Parliament. But the House of Commons refused to consider it at all. By the fall of 1848, the Chartist movement had come to a standstill.
In the 1950s, the country's economy was booming. In May 1851, the World's Industrial Fair opened in London's Hyde Park-the "Great Exhibition" with thousands of firms from dozens of countries represented. The greatest success fell to the share of Great Britain. The exhibition marked the beginning of a turbulent twenty years, the "golden age" of British capitalism, when England, having completed the industrial revolution, did not have any serious rivals in the world in the production and marketing of goods. She became the world's workshop, world coachman, and world banker.
Railways became part of the English landscape. The construction of steam engines was launched. Telegraph poles appeared on English roads. A telephone network with India was opened. English metallurgy developed rapidly. Coal production has increased 2 times more than in all other countries of the world combined. Half of the UK's 27 million people lived in cities, something that no country has ever known before.
The period of capitalist prosperity was accompanied by an increase in the need of large categories of workers, especially workers in handicraft and domestic industry. Competition with machines, owners of handicraft workshops reduced wages, widely used the work of children aged 6-8 years. In the working-class East End of London, the death rate was twice as high as in the aristocratic West End. The concessions made by the rapidly developing English capitalism to certain categories of workers were one of the main reasons for the change in the character of the working-class movement of 1848.The new generation of workers forgot the revolutionary methods of chartism, limited their aspirations to the limits of "prudence and respectability" and the struggle for private material improvements.
Bourgeois propaganda strongly opposed strikes. Under English law at the time, participation in a strike was punishable by prison.
The reconciliation of a part of the British workers with reality, their inaction, amazed even the bourgeois radicals. However, individual events of this period testified to the presence of revolutionary forces. In London, there were violent clashes between workers and the police.
In 1865, J. R. R. Tolkien became Prime Minister. Russell. The most prominent member of his cabinet was Secretary of the Treasury W. Gladstone. At the beginning of his political career, Gladstone was a Tory. Gladstone then became a Whig and worked with Russell to strengthen the position of the Whigs, who had a small majority in Parliament. To this end, they submitted to the House a bill on electoral reform, which was demanded at that time by the broad masses of the people. The bill frightened not only the Tories, but also some Whigs. As a result of the split in the Whig Party during the passage of the bill, Russell's cabinet resigned.
Meanwhile, the country was actively campaigning for electoral reform. The working class was particularly active in the struggle for electoral reform. On July 23, 1866, a large meeting of workers was to be held in London's Hyde Park. The government decided to close the park. Then the crowd broke open the fence bars and held a rally inside the park. This event alarmed the bourgeoisie.
The Earl of Derby's government, which had succeeded Russell's, decided to push ahead with reform. The de facto head of the elderly Derby cabinet was Disraeli, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Disraeli proposed a reform bill to the House of Commons. He took the initiative out of the hands of the liberals and put them in such a position that they could not vote against the reform. As a result, the bill was passed and on August 15, 1867, the bill became law. In February 1868, Derby resigned and Disraeli took his place. But the Conservatives did not have a strong majority in parliament. The Liberals, led by Gladstone, took advantage of this, and Disraeli's government gave way to a cabinet led by Gladstone.
The Gladstone Ministry implemented a number of reforms. Gladstone's most significant reform was that of primary education. School education in the country was backward; private schools occupied a large place. One of these schools was the one described by Dickens in his novel David Copperfield (1849) - "Mr. Creakle's school". "I advise you to go to your lessons with all your zeal," Creakle told his young pupils, " because I go to my punishments with all my zeal. I won't make any allowances. You should not scratch and rub your back, for you have not succeeded in erasing the marks of my blows." Public schools, which raised mainly aristocratic offspring, had a different character.
The English school as a whole was strongly influenced by religious organizations. .In August 1870, Gladstone's cabinet passed a law that had the character of a compromise between religious and Soviet education. New schools were established. Steps have been taken to expand secondary education.
As for the British foreign policy of the 50s and 60s, it was determined by principles developed in the eighteenth century and adapted to the needs of the rising industrial bourgeoisie. This policy was carried out by Palmerston, who for 20 years was at the helm of the board. Palmerston was a statesman of the strictly English aristocratic type. He believed that England had reached a personal state. He was convinced that English political ideals were the best in the world, and he did not hesitate to impose them on other countries. Palmerston gained great popularity among the English bourgeoisie for his conduct in the Pacifico affair. Two British merchants, including Don Pacifico, complained to the Greek government about the damage caused to them by the Greeks, but the government refused to pay them compensation. Then in January 1850, the British Admiral W. Parker blocked the harbor of Piraeus, and the Greek government was forced to accept the terms of England.
In September 1853, the Russo-Turkish war began. Britain and France took the Turkish side. The failure of the Allied forces in the first period of the Crimean war led to the fact that all forces dissatisfied with the government of Averdin (1852-1855), united to force his resignation. Palmerston became Prime Minister in February 1855. He tried to prevent the creation of a commission to investigate the situation in the army, and then he aroused suspicion among the people, and when he finally gave in, it led to the resignation of three Pillite ministers. At the same time, the radicals in the parliament proposed to open all positions, not only military, but also civilian, for people from all walks of life, making it a condition of appointment to the position exclusively professional suitability. One of the most ardent supporters of this reform was Charles Dickens.
After the Crimean War, the most dangerous enemy of England was Napoleon III's France, which, like England, claimed hegemony in Europe. England united with Italy. The British bourgeoisie hoped that the government of a united Italy would expand trade with it and reduce tariffs. Palmerston believed that it was necessary to be prepared for a possible clash with France, and persuaded Parliament to grant 9 million pounds to strengthen British ports and arsenals. The policy of the British government during the American Civil War in 1861-1865 had a significant impact on the social struggle inside England.
In the best novels and novels of Charles Dickens, the great English artist's passionate dream of happiness for the common people of Britain, his deep hatred and contempt for the ruling classes of the empire were expressed. Dickens used all his brilliant powers of satire to pillory the history of the lear of ladies and gentlemen; he stripped it of the fleur of decency and respectability, and the astonished and indignant world saw in their true light almost all sections of the English bourgeoisie, "full of arrogance , hypocrisy, despotism, and ignorance."
Ch. ' s basically realistic creative method. Dickens has undergone a long evolution. There were four main stages in this evolution.
The first period of 1833-1837. At this time, the "Essays of Boz" and the novel "The Last Notes of the Pickwick Club" were created. The second period of 1838-1845. During these years, Ch. Dickens acts as a reformer of the novel genre; he created: "Oliver Twist "(1838)," Nikalas Nickleby "(1839), the novel" Martin Chesquit "(1843)," The Shop of Antiquities " (1841). The third period is 1848-1859. Dombey and Son (1848), David Copperfield (1850), and Little Dorrit (1957). The fourth period is 1861-1870. During this period, two masterpieces were created: "Great Expectations "(1861) and "Our Common Friend" (1865). In his books, Dickens showed that bourgeois civilization is inseparable from poverty, hunger, and the exploitation of the working classes of society. The novel "Great Expectations", published in 1861, was created in new historical conditions - in the conditions of the decline of the labor movement (chartism) and the triumph of Victorian reactionary ideology. During this period, the English bourgeoisie ousts its competitors (Germany, the USA) on the world market, establishes its primacy at sea; England turns into the forge of the world.
However, Dickens continues to carry high the banner of his realistic art, still deeply and consistently rejecting the lies of bourgeois writers and journalists, showing the true nature of Victorian society, intoxicated with its success, enjoying listening to the songs of praise and the anthem of hired scribblers. His connection with the masses and deep faith in the people sustained Dickens during these difficult years of reaction, helping him create such works as" Great Expectations "and"Our Mutual Friend". This is not to say that the main idea of the novel "Great Expectations" was fundamentally new to English society. The ideological idea of the novel, which determined its subject matter and problems - its plot, composition, system of artistic images, language and style-is an idea formed by O. Balzac and Dickens himself in the 40s of the century, a true story of ruined youth, the impossibility for a generation of honest and gifted young people of that time to win happiness and achieve success in the conditions of universal competition and the triumph of the unscrupulousness of bourgeois morality.

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