and Bethel

I am both town traveler and country traveler, and am always on the road. Figuratively speaking, I travel for the great house of Human Interest Brothers, and have rather a large connection in the fancy goods way. Literally speaking, I am always wandering here and there from my rooms in Covent-garden, London-now about the city streets: now about the country by-roads-seeing many little things, and some great things, which, because they are of interest to me, I think may interest others."

-Charles Dickens
"His General Line of work"
from The Uncommercial Traveler and Reprinted Pieces

Readers of Charles Dickens' journalism will recognize many of this author's themes as common to his novels. Certainly, Dickens addresses his fascination with the criminal underground, his sympathy for the poor, especially children, and his interest regarding the penal system in both his novels and his essays. The two genres allow the author to address these matters with different approaches, though with similar ends in mind. Two key differences exist, however, between the author's novels and his journalism. First, humor, which is an essential element in many of Dickens' novels, is largely absent from his essays recommend specific medicine. However, as this paper will suggest, the author's reluctance to directly call for parliamentary action in his earlier works of fiction has been shed by the time he writes his last complete novel. The indirect approach of his early works is apparently the victim of Dickens' dissatisfaction with the pace of reform. In an essay entitled "A Walk in a Workhouse," published May 25, 1850 in Household Words, Dickens describes his Sunday visit to a large metropolitan workhouse, much like the one in which Oliver Twist lived for some time. In this essay, the first similarity to his fiction the reader notes is Dickens' apparent scorn for the clergy. For example, in a remark that reminds readers of The Old Curiosity Shop of Kit Nubbles' experience fetching his mother from Little Bethel, Dickens notes that the sermon delivered at the workhouse "might have been much better adapted to the comprehension and to the circumstances of the hearers". Adopting the sharp humor that marks his fiction, Dickens says sarcastically of Little Bethel that it "might have been nearer, and might have been in a straighter road, though in that case the reverend gentleman who presided over its congregation would have lost his favorite allusion to the crooked ways by which it was approached, and which enabled him to liken it to Paradise itself, in contradistinction to the parish church and the broad thoroughfares leading thereunto".
Thus if you were given that brief, Im sure you would come up
with the self same formula that they put forward. We must at
all times have something stunning, explosive, action packed,
appalling, exciting going on, which rushes along to climax
which is suddenly left in limbo for the NEXT PART. In other words
every single second of a thirty minute show is geared up to produce
the maximum adrenaline rush possible, and at the same time THEY
are constantly pushing back the barriers of decency to see how close
to virtually soft porn they can get away with, chipping away all the
time for chinks in the mental armour that says now thats a bit
too near the knuckle even for me. What was true in that
saying ten years ago now passes as old hat and is bandied as
our viewers want gritty drama. Im sure we all knew out here
at one time what gritty drama really was, but just as its easier
to get laughs with crude jokes or risqué humour, then so it is also

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