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A Comparison Between the First Chapters of Oliver Twist and Therese Raquin

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Introduction

A Comparison between the First Chapters of Oliver Twist and Therese Raquin Oliver Twist and Therese Raquin are written by Charles Dickens and Emile Zola respectively. Oliver Twist is a critism towards the Victorian Times where classification among the high, middle and low classes was very strict. In the novel, the orphan, Oliver uses humour to get back on the society. Therese Raquin is set in Paris in the 1800s. The plot revolves around Therese Raquin who has a loveless marriage with a sickly weak man, Camille. She falls for his friend Laurent and they plot to kill Camille, resulting in a nightmare. Oliver Twist and Camille Raquin are both the main male characters experiencing low standards of living. Their sufferings bring about the miserable lives of other characters, this sense of depression in the novel is introduced in the openings. In Oliver Twist the first sentence directly hints the consequences that is about to come, "into this world of sorrow and trouble...it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all". ...read more.

Middle

. Zola uses descriptions of larger locations, slowly narrowing down to a smaller place. The passage to the Arcade of Pont Neuf is followed by the shop's interior descriptions to introduce the characters. In comparison to Oliver Twist, the baby is introduced before the workhouse location and the characters there during his birth. In both novels the sufferings by the main female and male characters are very similar. The main female character in Oliver Twist is Oliver's mother. There is little told about her except the fact that she is dying from exhaustion from the journey to the workhouse and from giving birth to Oliver. The surgeon also discovers that she is not married, "the old story...no wedding ring. I see..." Oliver's father is unknown leaving the baby to be an orphan and the absence of wedding ring may suggest a poor relationship experienced. However, in Therese Raquin, Camille's mother, Mme Raquin does not experience death but his father is of absence as well. In this case, the poor relationship experienced is by another main female character, Camille's wife Therese. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the endings to both openings, the authors focus on a character to leave the reader with a feeling that something undesirable is going to happen. For example in Therese Raquin, Zola uses Therese, "She remained there a few minutes facing the black wall, which ascends and stretched above the arcade". As Therese watches the black wall full of thoughts, by having the wall stretched and ascending, it represents her thoughts growing as well which may lead to consequences. In Oliver Twist, Dickens uses Oliver, "If he could have known that he was an orphan...perhaps he would have cried the louder". This is an example of Oliver's ignorance. He is ignorant to the fact that he is an orphan but automatically, this makes the reader think that he will find out soon, therefore a sense of mystery is imposed on the readers. The introductory chapters have started to unfold part of the story, hinting what is to come by introducing the main characters unfortunate living standards. This idea is effective because usually readers will associate a more joyous life with better living standards. By constantly emphasizing other elements such as poor living conditions the author succeeds in imposing this perspective. ...read more.

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