A few years back I had an affair with a friend who'd been one of Toronto's most exclusive and expensive whores. To her, prostitution was a job pretty much like any other. She wrote: "Like any other whore I've ever known, I have two lives. One life earns all this money for being available for men and women who want -- and can afford to pay -- for the pleasure of my company. It's the other life, my personal life, that's my real life. The life where I win and lose, behave well or badly, am happy or sad. The part of my life where there's real meaning. ... When I'm working there's nothing womanly involved. Just business. "
As the number of those trapped in poverty swell there will be a growing yearning in society to show that poverty is systemic and not personal and one of their main allies will be Charles Dickens. People who refuse to lift themselves from their circumstances are one thing; those trapped in confining events despite all their best efforts are something else entirely and they make up the critical mass of those increasingly on the margins of society.