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.


He was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once – a parish child – the orphan of a workhouse – the humble, half-starved drudge – to be cuffed and buffeted through the world – despised by all, and pitied by none.

Background. "He was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once - a parish child - the orphan of a workhouse - the humble, half-starved drudge - to be cuffed and buffeted through the world - despised by all, and pitied by none" is a quotation from Oliver Twist (Chapter 1). Oliver Twist, subtitled The Parish Boy’s Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1837.   Context. The orphan Oliver Twist is put in his [...]

2017-12-08T13:14:55+00:00Categories: Oliver Twist|Tags: , |

Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse.

Background. "Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse" is a quotation from Oliver Twist (Chapter 1). Oliver Twist, subtitled The Parish Boy’s Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1837.   Context. These are the opening words of Oliver Twist, [...]

2017-12-08T13:15:01+00:00Categories: Oliver Twist|Tags: , |

The bowls never wanted washing.

Background. "The bowls never wanted washing." 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. Taken from the following paragraph in Chapter 2 of Oliver Twist: The bowls never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again; and when they had performed this operation (which never took very long, the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls), [...]

2018-08-10T07:12:13+00:00Categories: Oliver Twist|Tags: , , |

Every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch.

Background. "Every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch" is a quotation from Oliver Twist (Chapter 50). Oliver Twist, subtitled The Parish Boy’s Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1837.   Context. This quotation is a description of Folly Ditch, part of the notorious slum area of Jacob's Island in Bermondsey, south London. The area was immortalised by Charles Dickens in Chapter 50 [...]

2018-05-18T22:21:28+00:00Categories: Oliver Twist|Tags: , |

Jo lives—that is to say, Jo has not yet died.

Background. "Jo lives—that is to say, Jo has not yet died" is a quotation from Bleak House (Chapter 16). 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.  Description of the poor street urchin, Jo, who lives a hand-to-mouth existence sweeping streets around the slum nicknamed Tom-all-Alone’s. Taken from the following passage: Jo lives—that is to say, Jo has not yet died—in a [...]

2017-12-08T13:24:09+00:00Categories: Bleak House|Tags: |

A black, dilapidated street, avoided by all decent people, where the crazy houses were seized upon, when their decay was far advanced, by some bold vagrants who after establishing their own possession took to letting them out in lodgings.

Background. "A black, dilapidated street, avoided by all decent people, where the crazy houses were seized upon, when their decay was far advanced, by some bold vagrants who after establishing their own possession took to letting them out in lodgings." is a quotation from Bleak House (Chapter 16). 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. Description of the slum area [...]

2018-08-27T21:41:55+00:00Categories: Bleak House|Tags: , |

He has no idea, poor wretch, of the spiritual destitution of a coral reef in the Pacific or what it costs to look up the precious souls among the coco-nuts and bread-fruit.

Background. "He has no idea, poor wretch, of the spiritual destitution of a coral reef in the Pacific or what it costs to look up the precious souls among the coco-nuts and bread-fruit." is a quotation from Bleak House (Chapter 16). 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. Taken from the following passage in Chapter 16 of Bleak House: Jo [...]

2017-12-08T13:24:17+00:00Categories: Bleak House|Tags: , , , |

A boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames … as an autumn evening was closing in.

Background. "A boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames ... as an autumn evening was closing in" is a quotation from Our Mutual Friend (Book 1, Chapter 1). Our Mutual Friend was Charles Dickens's fourteenth and last completed novel, published between 1865.   Context. These are the opening words of Our Mutual Friend, setting a scene of two people making a living by scavenging from the River Thames in their boat. Taken [...]

2018-03-09T14:36:35+00:00Categories: Our Mutual Friend|Tags: , |

Here were poor streets where faded gentility essayed with scanty space and shipwrecked means to make its last feeble stand, but tax-gatherer and creditor came there as elsewhere, and the poverty that yet faintly struggled was hardly less squalid and manifest than that which had long ago submitted and given up the game.

Background. "Here were poor streets where faded gentility essayed with scanty space and shipwrecked means to make its last feeble stand, but tax-gatherer and creditor came there as elsewhere, and the poverty that yet faintly struggled was hardly less squalid and manifest than that which had long ago submitted and given up the game." is a quotation from The Old Curiosity Shop (Chapter 15). The Old Curiosity Shop was the fourth novel by Charles Dickens and follows the life of Nell [...]

We still leave unblotted in the leaves of our statute book, for the reverence and admiration of successive ages, the just and wholesome law which declares that the sturdy felon shall be fed and clothed, and that the penniless debtor shall be left to die of starvation and nakedness. This is no fiction.

Background. "We still leave unblotted in the leaves of our statute book, for the reverence and admiration of successive ages, the just and wholesome law which declares that the sturdy felon shall be fed and clothed, and that the penniless debtor shall be left to die of starvation and nakedness. This is no fiction." is a quotation from The Pickwick Papers (Chapter 42). The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, more commonly now known as simply The Pickwick Papers was [...]

2018-09-14T12:41:50+00:00Categories: The Pickwick Papers|Tags: , , , |
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