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Welcome to Coketown
on 28 May 2017
With regards to Dickens’ novels this is a relatively short one and the story takes place in and around the fictitious town of Coketown, set somewhere up North. Originally serialised in Household Words this was then published in a book format in the same year of 1854.
Although selling quite well at the time this isn’t the best of Dickens’ works and has always met with divided opinions. Although I do like reading this from time to time the biggest problem I have always found is that there is in some ways a lack of depth in the understanding of Dickens with regards to the actual political landscape and a lack of deeper psychology, making this weak in places and a bit poor on the depth and characterisation of the main characters.
This is a social novel and there is satire here that is directed towards utilitarianism, and we thus see children being educated and their imaginations and freedom being worn away. Although Dickens tried to show here the importance of imagination and our use of it this book actually doesn’t show his own such powers as well as other books, and loses some of his humour and passion accordingly.
There is also a problem that comes across here with regards to class and the lower classes generally being portrayed as harder working and more moral than those above them. This of course is very black and white, and when it comes to morals and determination, as well as hard work and reaching your potential such people come from all walks of life.
This could be a good book for book groups as there is a lot to discuss here, but other authors since this was written have been much better at getting their ideas across and have been structurally superior.