Funny how little has changed since Dickens's time. Teenage illegal immigrants, Asian mostly, work at illegal sweatshops throughout this country. (When I was in the freight forwarding business in Detroit eight years ago I knew all about them, to my shame, I suppose, as a middleman getting overpriced junk shipped to the Midwest.)Our prisons in America are jammed. A ladyfriend of mine has been in and out of them-- horrendous places-- for minor drug offenses.Meanwhile the cleaving of this society into two halves-- the comfortable and the degraded-- continues at an increasing pace.It's the shame of America-- and the shame of American literature that we have no Dickens discussing these stories with great art, in so doing creating public outrage.This is literature's task.Dickens; Jesus-- these are more than names. If one is not living in their footsteps, what does it mean to proclaim them? Nmes; merely names. Impressive-sounding historical names.