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Part Two Introduction

As Malcolm Andrews suggests in his discussion about Charles Dickens’ complex portrayal of England, the idea of home in the Victorian era can be characterized as “all that is enclosed and sheltered” by “walls” (2). In Dickens and the Concept of Home, Frances Armstrong also characterizes the Victorian concept of home in terms of “shelter,” physical and psychological “walls,” “a sense of “comfort,” and “protection” (3). According to Armstrong, the sense of rapid change and unpredictability that prevailed in the Victorian era fuelled an impulse in the contemporary English to create the fantasy of home as a kind of substitute for religious faith (16). Armstrong argues that the Victorian English sought to build a psychological and physical home that promised enclosure and eternity through the equation of heaven and home based on “the Biblical image of the house of many mansions” (15).