Monday, September 02, 2013

Charles Dickens is now About America's "Bleak House"

When I was much younger, I really enjoyed reading Charles Dickens. 
Dickens' semi journalistic and literary old world prose combine ironic descriptions of the common horrors of England's poor and working class as they haplessly tumbled ( from tragedy to tragedy) between the dark, decadent, and dirtyVictorian and Industrial Revolution era.  

Back then, I'd just reached my teenage years and my mother and I had just moved to a new neighborhood, worse than the one we left,  factoring in that I didn't know any one and instead of the one gang that dominated my old neighborhood, this one was dominated by another gang at war with the gang I knew from my old neighborhood, that I had some loyalty to.  In retrospect, today this neighborhood, now called Terror Town is far worse then the streets I walked as a teenager. I also began my freshman year at a new high school that I describe now as the United Nations of gangs, which is where I was introduced to Charles Dickens by my freshman English Teacher. 

Charles Dickens helped me negotiate my unstable and seemingly uncertain teenage years by widening  my perspective with historical context and solidarity, which connecting me to a larger stream of humanity.      

Today, the disparity between rich and poor is greater in American than when Dickens penned his classics like "A Tale Between Two Cities", David Copperfield,and Bleak House. And todays tragedies are far more horrifying, especially the violence so prevalent in America, producing headlines like the one below from DNA Info Chicago which reads like Dickens narratives of ironic tragedies  updated for America today.

Avalon Park Man Loses Friend, Nephew to Gunfire Within 24 Hours

"AVALON PARK — After a friend was gunned down on Kevin Woods' mother's front porch Wednesday night, the Avalon Park man told police he thought his house was being targeted.

Soon after he pleaded with police to do something, his nephew, Anthony Dickerson, 17, was shot to death just blocks away.

"[Three] hours later my nephew was gunned down," Woods said. "My nephew's gone and can't nothing bring him back."

Anthony was killed Thursday afternoon, three blocks from where Dwan Long, 35, was shot while having after-work drinks with a group on Woods' mother's front porch. A young man walked up, opened fire, and killed Long, police said.

Anthony was killed about 1 p.m. in the 7900 block of South Avalon Avenue after several people opened fire on him as he stood on a porch, police said. He lived in the house next door to where Long was shot the night before...."

No comments: