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The writings of Charles Dickens were often critical of society and government. This satire, Little Dorrit was also an outlet for Dickens' opinion of prison, particularly debtor's prisons. There people (including Dickens' own) who failed to pay their debts were imprisoned, paradoxically unable to work, until the debt was repaid. The story of Little Dorrit (whose father is imprisoned for debt) tells of the courtship between herself and Arthur Clennam and demonstrates the grim effects of imprisonment on those within as well as those beyond but whose lives are inextricably intertwined.
Charming Charley Kinraid, harpooner, captures the heart of Sylvia but is then press-ganged into service to fight Napoleon. Her cousin, Philip Hepburn, has designs on Sylvia and is not above withholding vital information to get his way. Thus is the stage set for disaster...
The novel tells the story of Tess whose fate is changed when her ne'er-do-well father tries to improve the family fortune via a misguided association with a local well to do family. Hardy's writing produces such empathy for Tess that one is compelled to continue reading even though it is unbearable to imagine where the story will go.
Call of the Wild is London's most read book. The protagonist is a dog, but the themes and action are quite dark as it tells of the misadventures of 'Buck' and the breakdown of his domestication after he is kidnapped and sold as a sled dog.
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