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David Copperfield as an example of the Victorian socio-critical novel

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House  

Page 32

Dickens knew from his own experience that already at his time, the American Dream had somewhat lost some if its substance. Even in America that praised itself of having an open door and a vacant job for EVERYONE, social problems had evolved, the number of jobs was decreasing and immigration restrictions had been started to be imposed on the people trying to get there. The American Dream had started to crumble and Dickens knew it.

So in his novel, Australia becomes the substitute for that lost American Dream, the country of unlimited opportunity, vacant jobs and the road to success and a better life. Of course, this is a very optimistic evaluation of Australia and most probably out of step with reality. But the point is not to depict an Australia, as it was in reality, but to create a  counterpart to America and show that even that nation, which was prospering and growing at that time, was not free of the social problems and misstandings that seem to be inherent in every society, up to now.

So it becomes obvious that this is a point of social criticism in the novel, even though it is not addressed to the British society per se, but directed to overseas, indirectly showing the social troubles there. And in a subtle way Dickens succeeded very well in showing and criticizing this matter.

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