Dombey and Son

Tamed Dragons and Sandwich-Boxes: The Significance of the Railway in 'Dombey and Son' College

The railway system brought an air of uneasiness to British society during the nineteenth century, during which change was felt behind every corner. While this feeling of skepticism was felt through all social classes, the middle and lower classes had the most to gain with this industrial advancement. Dicken’s novel, Dombey and Son, set the stage for this time of change through his characters, such as the Toodle family, and settings, being Stagg’s Garden, to show how drastically the railway system transformed social class and economic disparity. Furthermore, it also dismantled, literally and figuratively in the case of Mr. Carker, the upper class’s hierarchy that was suppressing the lower class. It connected people and places in a way never seen before.

One of the most important contributions that the railway provided in this novel is the transformation of Stagg’s Garden. The once “miserable waste ground, where the refuse matter had been heaped of yore, was swallowed up and gone…the old by streets now swarmed with passengers and vehicles of every kind,” (p. 211). Stagg’s Garden was essentially a waste land where impoverish families, such as the Toodles were known for inhabiting. More so, the inhabitants were skeptical and...

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