Normally this blog saves the non-political posts on the weekend, but I can't resist offering a rejoinder to this Salon piece
about classics which kids should avoid.
I'm told "A Tale of Two Cities" gets put on curricula because it's the shortest Dickens novel, but "Oliver Twist" is only a little longer and its mistreated-orphans premise seems vastly more child-friendly.
It isn't. Ask any historian of the period, and ask any Dickens expert who has been paying attention to those historians. In the book, Fagin's urchins are portrayed as "pickpockets" because the novel would have been condemned if Dickens had told the truth. "Pickpocket" is a euphemism. Those kids were child prostitutes. That was the kind of operation which the real-life Fagins got up to, and get
In the book, Nancy
tells Fagin "I thieved for you when I was a child not half as old as this." (She indicates Oliver, who is ten.) "I have been in the same trade, and in the same service, for twelve years since..." If you have any awareness of subtext you'll see that she's not talking about thieving
. The words "in the same service" give away the true meaning.
Your kids may be better off with Tale of Two Cities