racism, genderism, Perils, Collins, Dickens, work, labor
In Wilkie Collins’s and Charles Dickens’s 1857 novella The Perils of Certain English Prisoners and Their Treasure in Women, Children, Silver, and Jewels, the inhabitants of Silver-Store are presented with a unique definition of worth and value. The text discusses many types of value: intellectual value, physical value, productive value, etc. The collaborating authors present a pattern of having the white-male characters’ worth on the island of Silver-Store as action-based: that the doers of the society are seen as more valuable than those that are passive in the society. Gillian Ray-Barruel extrapolates on this unequal idea of social value in Victorian literature. By showing the struggle of inadequacy between the atypical or disabled human being and his or her productive potential. In her words, she describes the worth of an individual as measured “in terms of their productive capacity . . .” (90). This same tension is illustrated in The Perils; Dickens and Collins are producing a concept that the more a character does that is useful to the society, rather than simply being a busy character, the more social capital a character has in the society.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Dryer, Kori Anne, "Just Do It: The Value of Being a Doer in Wilkie Collins’s and Charles Dickens’s The Perils of Certain English Prisoners" (2019). Student Publications. 272.
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