Little Dorrit Imagery

Little Dorrit Imagery

Another world

When the prison where Mr. Dorrit is held is described, it becomes clear that the prison is not a place where the inmates are forced to stay permanently in their cells, guarded permanently and restricted with bars and chains. Instead, the debtors’ prison is seen as another small society, with its own economy. The prisoners are free to come and go as they please and many of them live inside the prison with their family. Mr. Dorrit ends up considering his cell as being his home, his personal space and this become obvious when Arthur goes to him for the first time. The idea that the debtors’ prison is small community is accentuated when the narrator mentions that there is even an inn and a tavern where the inmates can drink inside the prison. Thus, the image Charles Dickens creates is that of a small community where the prisoners can mover relatively free and continue to live their life.

Fragile woman

The first time Arthur sees Little Dorrit, he believes she is just a child taken in by his mother. When Arthur finds that Little Dorrit is actually 20 years old, he is shocked to find out that she is actually a woman. The image of the small, innocent oppressed child is created not only through Arthur’s description of Little Dorrit but also through the narrator’s description. Despite her age, Little Dorrit is portrayed as a small child who needs to be protected by the outside world. She remained a child in her appearance because of the environment she was raised in, an oppressive society who stopped her from developing both physically and emotionally.

Mad woman

Flora is Arthur’s past love, a girl who was once engaged to him. Because of their families, Arthur leaves and the story between them ends abruptly. The narrator paints a sharp contrast between Flora and Arthur through the way Flora is described. Arthur is presented as well respected gentleman with a kind hart and hardworking while Flora is presented as a woman stuck in the past, still clinging to the life she used to have. Despite being over forty years old, Flora still thinks that she is a twenty year old, the age she had when she first meet Arthur. Flora became a complete opposite of how Arthur remembered her and the contrast between how she used to be and the person she became shocks Arthur. Flora became over time a mad woman with childish ideas who lives a delusional life.

Dangerous city

When Little Dorrit and Maggie are forced to spend a night alone in the streets, the narrator paints a different picture of London than the one presented until that point. At first, London is presented as a relatively safe place to be but the situation changes during the night, thus presenting the negative side of the industrialization that changed England drastically. While many thrived during the Industrialization period, the common people had to suffer. Prostitution, violence and homelessness became a serious problem in London during that time and Charles Dickens presents the ugly side of London through the description offered of the city when Little Dorrit is forced to stay on the streets for one night.

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