I would have loved to have lived in Victorian London! My life would have been filled with romance and literature. Frills, bonnets, and beautiful dresses would be commonplace. Abundant prosperity and wealth would mark the government’s belief of equality for all of its citizens!
Just kidding. On the contrary, Victorian London appeared very different than a constant stream of classy women walking the cobblestone streets and catching the eye of Mr. Darcy. Although I previously envisioned this stereotype, I now understand the true definition of the Victorian Era and its London. Although the top few percent of the city lived in wealth, much of the city, especially East End, lived in destitution with filthy conditions. Starvation and disease pervaded parks, congested streets, and smoggy alleys. Jack London’s, People of the Abyss, was a wonderful resource for research on the conditions of East End during this time. One interesting concept that I noticed while reading London’s work, was that the aristocracy did very little to raise its citizens out of poverty. In fact, some enacted laws that inadvertently made it more difficult for the poor to find jobs and earn steady wages. Few people understand this concept of the Victorian Era, and although great things came about during the time period, it is important that the millions of struggling and impoverished citizens of London’s past not be forgotten.