Coram Boy Essay

1501 words 7 pages
What do we learn about life in the 18th century and how successfully does the writer convey this information whilst telling us a good story?

The story is set in the 18th century and includes factual information which plays a vital part in the storyline. It uses this information whilst entertaining the readers with a fictional storyline. It is based on one thing in particular, hence the title "The Coram Boy", this is The Coram Hospital.

A main factor in the storyline is the way the writer portrays society's attitude to poverty in the 18th century. The poor people were treated tremendously different to higher classed people. A lot of people were even living on the streets. For example, "He picked his way through the hordes of homeless
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This is mainly fear and ignorance. For example, the writer writes about a once beautiful girl who had become deformed by smallpox. "He sensed his father wince and drop his eyes as she pulled her veil across her ravaged, pitted face." This shows society's awkwardness against those who do not look ‘normal'. This also shows people's ignorance and how they do not look beyond the surface. Another example of the way society treated disability is the circus freak show. "A travelling freak show on its way to London pitched camp and displayed their charges – penny-a-peep – to see the two-headed baby, the bearded woman, the Siamese twins and a man whose heart you could see beating because he had been born with it on the outside. That was a tuppence a peep, which most people thought worth it, to see the organ and all its mysterious tubes and muscles expanding and contracting, giving life yet looking as if it had a life of its own." This shows that the people developed a curiosity at something so different and strange to human nature and so would actually pay to see the frightening people who held such disability. The writer includes this piece of information about the 18th century very briefly yet it still holds vital importance and helps intrigue the reader to read on.

Another main factor in the story is the slavery, child labour and racism. These three points come under the same category as they all link in together. An example of child