I and my friend have been reading a few passages and after reading, there has been a debate between me and my friend over some verbs in the passages. The debate is whether the verb tenses of the passages have an implicit meaning contrary to what their tenses are.
It was a terrible life for little children. Many of them became ill and died.
I say that the verb of the example context is simply expressing simple past, a thing that happened in the past and is not longer happening. But my friend says although the verb tense structure is simple past, it has an implicit past progressive meaning, which means there was an ongoing process of children becoming ill and die in the past.
Charles Dickens wrote books in those days.
The meaning of the above context according to the verb, which is simple past tense, is that Charles Dickens wrote some books in those days, just that.
However, my friend says that the meaning of the example context above is that Charles Dickens used to write books in those days, in another words, it was his job and he used to do this on an ongoing task.
I'm so confused and I don't know which of us is right.