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Oliver Twist Essay

November 7th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Charles Dickens novel ‘Oliver Twist‘ explores the possibilities of an unfortunate orphan severely mistreated by the hands of child poverty during the Victoria era. Chapter 10 is where our misfortunate orphan Oliver is introduced to stealing by his associates Oliver is wrongfully accused of stealing at the market which his friends have brought him to, Oliver tries desperately to get away from the angry herd of people but is eventually caught. Which has some profound effects on how Oliver’s life changes to.

Chapter 10 unlocks a whole new passage in Oliver’s life where he’ll encounter new experiences. Dickens also commented on it as being a ‘very important chapter, in this history’ in the short summary at the start of each chapter. Chapter 10 is significant as it is the introduction to a character named Mr Brownlow who is brought back into the book in a latter stage. Mr. Brownlow is presented as the only gentleman who is sincere in the deceitful society; he vouches for Oliver’s story proving him to only have told the truth. With the sole help of this new revelation, Oliver is released. Not only does Mr.Brownlow save Oliver from sentencing he then kind heartedly takes Oliver to his home where Oliver is cared for and learns and receives the love and care he has always desired. Chapter 10 is one of the more innovative scenes as it is the most cinematic, created by describing the scene, the characters, the emotions and tension in it effectively. Dickens style of writing adds to this effect of this by changing the pace of the passages a example would be when Oliver is being chased the pace of the paragraph quickens, Dickens does this by use of punctuation, he substitutes full stops by semi-colons this adds to the rapidity of the scene.

The theme of the novel is presented constantly throughout the book, the novel itself is about the life of Oliver who finds himself down on his luck travelling from diverse situations, surroundings and traits of associates of his this the reader finds themselves on a journey of mixtures of complex emotions, the poignancy of the pain Oliver feels through the demise of his mother, being left to live in a workhouse where love, care and food is in shortage, Oliver now discovers the apparently good natured man (Fagin) who took him under his wing is enforcing the boys to steal for him, which has some disastrous consequences.

Dickens was renowned for being a social critic. In ‘Oliver Twist’ he is exploiting the underground, guilty and seedy Victorian era. The reader has a perception of Oliver as a down beaten orphan who is sweet, innocent, and loveable but naive boy he is easy to be sympathetic towards. In the moment that Dodger reaches into the gentleman’s pocket ‘the whole mystery of handkerchiefs, watches, jewels and the Jew’ instantly unravels. He now learns the truth of the pretences he is under by Fagin. This short description of the events shows how nave Oliver is, as the word ‘alarm’ suggests Oliver being shocked and surprised and how blind Oliver was not to see the reality of Fagin’s workers. Dickens is stating how even an innocent, sweet natured child can be trapped in the net of delinquency. Fagin’s den also exemplifies how many children are used for money seizing men and how easy it is for so-called gentlemen to get away with it. Dickens is criticising on how damaged the society is. He does this in several phases for example, a man who managed to injure Oliver was proud of that fact he ‘touched his hat with a grin, expecting something for his pains’ this shows how obsessed people were with money because they would hurt a child. Out of the crowd of people chasing Oliver only the victim of the crime showed Oliver any sign of moral respect he tells the police officer ‘Don’t hurt him’. Dickens in addition makes some ironic views on the police (who is generally the last people to arrive) this is an ironic aside as its Dickens authorial voice.

This chapter is the core of the theme that the whole novel revolves around. The theme is how a corrupt, crooked and dishonest world can be so severe to a defenceless child therefore this chapter is one of the more important chapters as it fits so well into the overall scheme of the novel. This chapter is important as it gives us examples of Dickens thoughts on the society in which he lives as most authors write about experiences they have encountered and therefore Dickens perceptions of people come through throughout the novel.


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