"For the Sake of the Rest": Education and Mutual Responsibility in Charles Dickens's 'Bleak House' and 'Little Dorrit'
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This thesis examines how Dickens positions education between self-help and philanthropy in "Bleak House" and "Little Dorrit." The first chapter examines Dickens’s own education as well as his education-related charitable activities to provide context for the following analysis of "Bleak House" and "Little Dorrit." The second chapter focuses on education in "Bleak House" as a locus both for Dickens’s critique of the government’s irresponsible failure to educate the poor and for Dickens’s depiction of social responsibility motivating individuals to teach others. Finally, the third chapter considers the role of education in "Little Dorrit" by studying Amy Dorrit as an exemplar and teacher of social responsibility who stands in contrast to the prevailing irresponsibility that characterizes her family and “Society.”