Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Analysis of Dickens's Humanitarianism in a Tale of Two Cities

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Analysis of Dickens's Humanitarianism in a Tale of Two Cities

Article excerpt


Charles Dickens, is a critical realist famous all over the world in the 19th century. His works are always full of thick soft heart and reflect deep ideal of Humanitarianism. He lives in the time which is famous for Victorian morality. Founded on his hard real life, he has produced a large amount of great works to expose the true sense of life. He advocates Humanitarianism and treats morality as a banner to guide people's fraternity. He intends to build a beautiful and peaceful world for people. A Tale of Two Cities is one of his representative works, which reflect his ideal of Humanitarianism.

Keywords: humanitarianism, a tale of two cities, limitation

Humanitarianism is an ethic of kindness, benevolence, and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common element in its evolution. No distinction is to be made in the face of suffering or abuse on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, tribe, caste, age, religion, or nationality. Humanitarianism can also be described as the acceptance of every human being for plainly just being another human, ignoring and abolishing biased social views, prejudice, and racism in the process, if utilized individually as a practiced viewpoint, or mindset. It seriously concerns about human values. It is the idea of human's basic living conditions and pays attention to human well-being, emphasizes mutual aid between human beings. It relates with the importance of human values. At the same time, it has ideas of paying importance to god class and natural kinds or animals." Humanitarianism, as a trend of thought in the west, started from the Renaissance period. Humanitarianism came from the Latin word "Humanistas". Humanitarianism advocated people-oriented, which is positive to people's values and dignity and calls for liberation of personality. Humanists believe people have the right to pursue happiness and individual freedom. Humanity is the ideal starting point for them, the basis for their theory as well. Humanity is the ideal starting point for them, the basis for their theory as well.

Charles Dickens was a famous nineteenth-century English novelist. Victorian era, the time he lived in, was famous for morality. He promoted humanitarian through writing and criticized the corrupted life from a moral perspectives. Humanitarianism of Dickens's novels is built on the basis of human nature and his understanding of human nature is a common property of mankind. This is the starting point of his ideology of Humanitarianism. He fantasizes that the wicked people would have their conscience and turn over a new leaf to benefit the society. At his three literary creation points, he regarded Humanitarianism as the guiding principle of his works. He never stopped preaching about morality, and regarded his own works as a banner of ethical culture. He called on the rich and poor to overcome their own prejudices, to understand and love each other to build a better society. On the foundation of the impact of the ideological background and Dickens's hard experiences, he formed his particular Humanitarianism.

1. The Formation of Dickens's Humanitarianism

Dickens's Humanitarianism is a kind of capitalist Humanitarianism. Its particular nature is related to the ideological background of the times and Dickens's hard life experiences.

1.1 The Ideological Background of the Times

The time in which Dickens lived, was just as he described in volume I chapter 1 "The Period", "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epochs of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity ..."

Class contradictions of the British were very sharp in that period. With the Industrial Revolution continuing to penetrate all aspects of British society, contradiction between emerging class and the old became weaker. …

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