In “Our mutual friend” Charles Dickens explores attitudes to money in victorian society examine the characters of Lizzie Hexam, Bella Wilfer and mrs Boffin and show what youhave learnt about money and social class in the 1960’s.
The title of the Charles Dickens novel is ‘Our mutual friend’.The author Charles Dickens was born in the early 1850’s and he wrote ‘our mutual friend’ in 1864 and his family were very poor.
In ‘our mutual friend’ there is a vast range of characters including very poor people such as Gaffer and really rich people with newly acquired money such as the Veneerings. There are also lots of different aged characters ranging from small children to old men and women. There is also some that are in the middle such as mrs Boffin and Bella Wilfer. These people are not rich or poor they are lower middle class
In Victorian society there were very big differences in classes because the rich were very rich and they had big houses and servants. Also the poor were very poor because they would be begging and living anywhere and didn’t have any money even for food. The poor certainly didn’t have any money for luxury’s.
Money is very important to the novel because it seperates all of the different classes and characters from each other. The money in the novel is important because it helps you understand what it was like in the victorian times and what people did and spent the money on. Also it shows how it affected the Victorians.
In the novel he venerrings are very rich and extremly posh. They were not kind though and they helped people only if it was good for them. When John Harman died his fortune went to the Boffins. The Boffins were really kind and now very rich and they adopt Bella Wilfer because they felt sorry for her because she was going to marry John Harman, so she should have had the money.
This novel is set in London and it is especially about the river Thames.
Lizzie Hexam was exstremly poor and she lived in a wooden shack with Gaffer(her dad) and her brother Charlie. The family makes a living on the river Thames because Lizzie and Gaffer go fishing for dead bodies and when they find them, they steal from them. Lizzie doesn’t really like doing this though because she fells guilty.’ I cannot bear it’. ‘I-I do not like it ,father’.
Lizzie copes really well with not having much money and for a bit of extra money she makes dolls clothes with a women called Jenny. Lizzie knows what is right and wrong and she is very caring, especially about her brother because she wants him to have a better life than she has. So she sends him to school. This indicates that she is a very kind person because in order to send him to school she would not have as much money for things for herself and for food.
Lizzie doesn’t like people to feel sorry for her and pitty her because when Wrayburn offers to tutor her and Jenny she at first says no, but in the end shereluctuntly says “yes”.
Jenny Wren is the woman that makes dolls clothes with Lizzie and she is a very kind and sweet woman.
Bradley Headstone is Lizzie’s brother Charlie tutor and he falls in love with Lizzie but Lizzie doesn’t really like him and even though if she married him it would raise her social status, she isn’t interested. This shows me that Lizzie is very inderpendent, she is very genuine and she is extremly loyal.
Lizzie and Gaffer are a very close father and daughter. ‘Lizzie took her right hand from the skull it held, and touched her lips with it, and for a moment held it out lovingly towards him’.This tells me they really love each other, but they can’t really tell each other, they try to show it in other ways.
Bella Wilfer is the woman that was going to marry John Harman but she was prevented from doing so when he allegedly drowns. She doesn’t inherit J ohn Harman’s fortune because she wasn’t quite married to him.
Bella really needs money and she is in love with the idea of having money. She comes from a poorish family and a very modest back ground. She is in the lower middle class.
Bella is adopted by the Boffins because they inherited the Harman fortune. The Boffins adopt her because they feel they should share the lifestyle they have, with the person that should really have the fortune.
When Bella first moves in with the Boffins she thinks they are common and she doesn’t really like them but after a while she begins to love them. She likes them so much that she neglects her own family until John Rokesmith makes her feel guilty.
Bella refuses to marry Rokesmith because she says “I must have money”.
She does like him but she feels he is not a suitable husband because he is poor.
Mrs Boffin is from a working class origin and she is uneducated and she lives in a small house. Mrs Boffin is married to Noddy Boffin who worked for the old John Harman who owned a fortune because of his dust heaps. Mr and Mrs Boffin are left the Harman fortune when he persumed dead.
When they got the fortune they moved into a mansion, bought nice expensive clothes and paid Mr Wegg to improve their education. Mrs Boffin agrees to this because she thinks that because she is moving up the different classes she needs to be able to read and speak like a real wealthy person would.
However Mrs Boffin retains her warm personality even when she becomes a wealthy women because she wants to share the Harman fortune around. She is very kind and generous and wants others to profit from her fortune.
First of all she tries to adopt a little boy with blonde hair, an angle called Johnny but she can’t in the end because the little boy dies when he becomes ill
After this she does adopt a man called Sloppy because she feels sorry for him. Sloppy is a very simple, not very educated and not very good looking older boy.
This suggests that the Boffins don’t only want a really sweet baby and that they don’t care what people look like or how rich they are.
In the end of ‘our mutual friend’ Bella Wilfer marries John Harman, because she was ready to give up everything in order to be with him, so he tells her who he really is.
At the very end all the high class people are on the boat talking about how the marriage is totally wrong and that rich people should only get married to other rich people. Until a man stands up and sticks up for them, this man was called Twemlow.
In conclusion I think Dickens is saying that money is really important to some people but not so important to others. I think that he is also saying that money can control people and that some people can’t do without it.
The Veneerings lived in the brand-new houses in London. Everything they own was brand new. They were very false people because they only like people if they have lots of money and if they are higher class. ‘ Veneerings was spick and span new’.
The Veneerings had servants as well and they were also new. ‘all their servants were new’. The Veneerings are very selfish and they only care that they are high class. This is also what would have happened in the victorian times, people only cared what class they are in.
This is why I think Charles Dickens doesn’t like these characters. Also the Veneerings have no real friends.
I think that Dickens approves of the charaters such as Lizzie Hexam because she is kind and generousbut he doesn’t like people like the Veneerings because they are false and because al they want to do is be high class and fit in with the rich people. I feel that Dickens puts his views across with the character ‘Twemlow’.