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A tale of grinding poverty and struggle, A Child of the Jago follows Dicky Perrott – a boy who wishes to escape London’s impoverished and corruption-riddled East End for a better life. First published at the end of the 19th century when industrialized London was in a state of dire impoverishment, the story is not a typical rags to riches tale – the Perrott family, and their friends and enemies, must struggle for their very survival in the harsh environment they live within. Tension and desperation amid the crime and roughness is constant in the overcrowded slums of the East End, with fortune hard to come by and danger ever present. The novel opens with a vivid and stark image of a hot midsummer’s day – the residents of the Jago sleeping outside in the roads to avoid the heat and stench of their own homes. Illustrating the desperate situation, a robbery promptly occurs in which the victim is relieved of the very clothes on his back.
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