Little Dorrit is a serial novel by Charles Dickens published originally between 1855 and 1857. It is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period.
Much of Dickens' ire is focused upon the institutions of debtors prisons—in which people who owed money were imprisoned, unable to work, until they repaid their debts. The representative prison in this case is the Marshalsea.
Most of Dickens' other critiques in this particular novel are about other issues with regards to the social safety net: industry, and the treatment and safety of workers; the bureaucracy of the British government's ministries (especially the fictional "Circumlocution Office" [Bk. 1, Ch. 10]; and the separation of people based on the lack of intercourse between the classes.
The plot revolves around the characters of Little Dorrit, whose father is imprisoned in the Marshalsea for much of the novel, and of the businessman Arthur Clennam. As their love one for another grows, they suffer reversals of fortunes that follow them across Europe and back to England before the final resolution of this comic novel.