The Elephant Man Historical Context

Bernard Pomerance
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The setting for The Elephant Man is late Victorian England; an understanding of this period is important for understanding the relationship that John Merrick had with his doctors and the public.

dustry brought social problems as well. As more people moved from the country to the cities, overcrowding resulted. In 1832, the Parliament passed a number of new laws to improve people's lives: the areas of child labor, welfare, and sanitation were all the subject of new laws.

In 1851 the Crystal Palace exposition displayed England's recent scientific and technological advances. The success of the Crystal Palace led to a smug satisfaction among England's aristocracy that lasted most of that decade.

In 1859, Darwin's The Origin of the Species created a dramatic controversy by questioning longstanding assumptions about humanity and man's role in the world. His next book, The Descent of Man, introduced the theory of evolution. Religious leaders, who felt...

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This section contains 410 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Elephant Man Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The Elephant Man from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.