Poverty

Charles Dickens quotations on the theme of Poverty.

 

Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) was one of the foremost writers from the Victorian era and remains a popular widely-read author today. During his lifetime he produced 15 novels, five novellas, and a large number of shorter stories and essays. He wrote from personal experiences and concerned himself with a number of contemporary social issues whilst supporting numerous charitable causes, giving assistance in time, money or personal effort. Our archive of over 450 Charles Dickens quotations are organised by both source material, i.e. the work or speech in which it originally appeared, and also grouped thematically. In this archive, we have collected quotations from Charles Dickens works on the theme of Poverty.


Click on a quotation for more information, including links to original source, the context in which it appeared, related material and the ability to give each quotation a rating and help us compile the very best Charles Dickens quotations.


The great principle of out-of-door relief is, to give the paupers exactly what they don’t want; and then they get tired of coming.

Background. "The great principle of out-of-door relief is, to give the paupers exactly what they don’t want; and then they get tired of coming." is a quotation from Oliver Twist (Chapter 23). Oliver Twist, subtitled The Parish Boy’s Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1837.   Context. Quote said by Mr. Bumble, the parish Beadle. Bumble is giving his views on poor relief to Mrs. Corney. Charles Dickens was a vigorous critic of the 1834 Poor [...]

2018-11-07T12:02:19+00:00Categories: Oliver Twist|Tags: , |

A girl, whose miserable and emaciated appearance was only to be equalled by that of the candle which she shaded with her hand.

Background.  “A girl, whose miserable and emaciated appearance was only to be equalled by that of the candle which she shaded with her hand.” is a quotation taken Sketches by Boz, Tales, Chapter 12 (The Drunkard’s Death). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Taken from the following passage in The Drunkard’s Death (Sketches by Boz, Tales, Chapter 12): The man whom we have followed into this den, [...]

It’s a wery remarkable circumstance, Sir, that poverty and oysters always seem to go together.

Background. "It’s a wery remarkable circumstance, Sir, that poverty and oysters always seem to go together." is a quotation from The Pickwick Papers (Chapter 22). The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, more commonly now known as simply The Pickwick Papers was Charles Dickens's first novel, published between 1836 and 1837.   Context. In this quotation, the character Sam Weller seems to have spotted a correlation between the number of stalls selling oysters in poorer areas. Taken from the following passages [...]

2018-08-10T06:16:58+00:00Categories: The Pickwick Papers|Tags: , |

Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, right reverends and wrong reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.

Background. "Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, right reverends and wrong reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day." is a quotation from Bleak House (Chapter 47). Bleak House was the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, intended to illustrate the evils caused by long, drawn-out legal cases in the Court of Chancery.   Context. This quotation is a harsh criticism on society by [...]

2018-09-26T09:37:51+00:00Categories: Bleak House|Tags: , , |

They are invariably numerous and splendid in precise proportion to the dirt and poverty of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Background. "They are invariably numerous and splendid in precise proportion to the dirt and poverty of the surrounding neighbourhood." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Scenes, Chapter 22 (Gin Shops). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Description of the gin-shops around St. Giles, one of the then poorest slums of London. Taken from the following passage in Gin Shops: The extensive scale on [...]

2018-08-17T06:59:29+00:00Categories: Gin Shops, Sketches by Boz|Tags: , |

It is said that the children of the very poor are not brought up, but dragged up.

Background. "It is said that the children of the very poor are not brought up, but dragged up." is a quotation from Bleak House (Chapter 6). Bleak House was the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, intended to illustrate the evils caused by long, drawn-out legal cases in the Court of Chancery.     Have Your Say. Give your view on "It is said that the children of the very poor are not brought up, but dragged up." with a rating and [...]

2018-08-16T10:05:45+00:00Categories: Bleak House|Tags: , |

Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts.

Background. "Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts." is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 1). A Christmas Carol is a novella, or short story, written by Charles Dickens and first published in the Christmas of 1843.   Context. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited in his counting-house by two benefactors wishing to make provision for the poor and destitute at Christmas time. Scrooge angrily replies that prisons and workhouses are [...]

2018-08-27T18:55:25+00:00Categories: A Christmas Carol|Tags: , |

If they would rather die, they’d better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Background. "If they would rather die, they'd better do it, and decrease the surplus population." is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 1). A Christmas Carol is a novella, or short story, written by Charles Dickens and first published in the Christmas of 1843.   Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge (left), here being visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley. Context. The quote is said by [...]

2018-08-28T18:25:13+00:00Categories: A Christmas Carol|Tags: , |

This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want.

Background. "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want." is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 3). A Christmas Carol is a novella, or short story, written by Charles Dickens and first published in the Christmas of 1843.   Context. Quote said by The Ghost of Christmas Present to Ebenezer Scrooge. Taken from the following passage in Stave 3 of A Christmas Carol: “Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost. They were a boy and girl. [...]

2018-05-01T10:11:09+00:00Categories: A Christmas Carol|Tags: , |

Please, sir, I want some more.

Background. "Please, sir, I want some more" is a quotation from Oliver Twist (Chapter 2). Oliver Twist, subtitled The Parish Boy’s Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1837.     Context. Image from the 1968 musical Oliver! in which Oliver Twist (played by Mark Lester) asks for more food. Taken from the following paragraph in Chapter 2: The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook’s uniform, stationed himself at the [...]

2018-02-21T20:30:57+00:00Categories: Oliver Twist|Tags: , , , |
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