Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Lorentzen, Eric

Major or Concentration



The purpose of this honors project is to explore the challenging social system of Dickens’s Victorian London, specifically through the perspective of Dickens’s social philosophy characterized by the need for reformative action in the fractured society represented in both Oliver Twist and Bleak House. Divided into two documents, the first component, an annotated bibliography, focuses on the scholarly discussion of negligent and criminal institutions in Oliver Twist. The second section, an analytical paper, concentrates on Bleak House and Dickens’s representation of the city as a divided space between the gentility and isolated, vulnerable groups demonstrated by at risk orphans, silenced women, and the impoverished. The attempts of society’s elite to conceal these detrimental consequences through segregation and the implementation of neglectful institutions only increases the contaminated space of nineteenth century London. In both novels, Dickens critically evaluates the repercussions caused by the damaging effects of the city’s authoritative social system in order to caution future generations on the loss of individual social responsibility.

The annotated bibliography is available for use in Simpson Library's Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room.