• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comment on the portrayal of the Under Classes in 'Oliver Twist'

Extracts from this document...


Comment on the portrayal of the Under Classes in 'Oliver Twist' During the early 1800s a great number of people were living in extreme poverty. Dickens had grown up in a poor family. As his childhood was so awful he wrote the novel 'Oliver twist' as a protest towards the way the poorer community were treated. This period of time was torrid for the underclass population, particularly the children. Orphaned children had only two choices. They could both live and work in workhouses or to live a life of crime. As the poor law was introduced most children were forced into workhouses. Dickens was strongly opposed to this routine. Conditions were abysmal, children were punished severely, ' for a week after the commission of the impious offence.... Oliver remained a prisoner in the dark solitary room.' Eventually the starvation and mental turmoil would turn the children into 'violent social outcasts'. Not only would the children be mentally abused, but the unrelenting workhouses were also extremely violent places to be. As I mentioned children from the poorer community would have two choices. If the children were lucky enough to escape the workhouses then a life of crime would be the only way for them to survive. ...read more.


So rather than mistreat the children he turns his business of theft into a family with fun and games 'when the breakfast was cleared away.... two boys played at a very curious and uncommon game'. This game involved taking a handkerchief from Fagin's pocket. It was a fun and effective way for the children to practice stealing. This shows that Fagin and the children looked upon this crime in a lighthearted way and had no conscience after stealing from rich upper-class people. So in the same way the upper class disrespected the poor, you could say the poor disrespected the upper class, but had no real means of exploiting them. Dickens' ideas show the poor community had reasons to hate the upper classes, as they were so cruelly mistreated. After days of practising with handkerchiefs Oliver was finally allowed to go on the streets and steal for real. Not all goes to plan though and Oliver is caught in the act. After his accomplishes the dodger and bates flee back to the hideout Fagin quickly becomes aware of the seriousness of this issue. During these events Dickens takes the opportunity to introduce Bill Sikes. ...read more.


He constantly bullies and looks down on Oliver. "...one hundred and forty sixpences! - and all for a naughty orphan which nobody can't love." Although Mr Bumble overpowers Oliver, he is not all that he seems. He acts superior and intelligent, but he frequently misuses words. (Malapropism). He often uses the word "parochial", but not correctly. Dickens uses this technique to show the reader that the rich only feel they are special and of a higher standard than the poor, but in Dickens' opinion they are in no way any different than the lower class, so there fore should not be treated any differently. Dickens' novel condemns the world of the Poor Laws by describing in great detail the life of an orphan, gang of thieves, and other horrors of this type of civilization. Basically Charles Dickens wanted to get the point across that there is no difference between upper and lower class citizens. To do this he makes Mr Bumble sound like a fool, and to create sympathy for the poor he describes the harsh treatment of a magistrate. Charles Dickens felt that people from both classes should have been treated the same, because they weren't he wrote this novel as a protest and to show how the under classes were the same as anybody else, but were just brutally discriminated against. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Oliver Twist section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Oliver Twist essays

  1. After studying 'Oliver Twist' the reader gains understanding of the true horrors that exist ...

    Dickens uses juxtaposition to compare the extremities in the wealth of the people of London. He also does this through the device of personification. The sun shedding it's rays equally presents the argument that the poor are actually equal in worth with the rich.

  2. How effectively does Charles Dickens use language to portray 19th century London society in ...

    It also shows us that the young children were 'offenders,' again reinforcing the idea that the middle class thought they were a burden and were criminals before they had even seen outside the workhouse. Besides stating a few facts about the middle class people, it also tells us something about society.


    cases, the miserable little being was usually summoned into another world, and there gathered to the fathers it had never known in this.' There were an unusual high number of suspicious deaths in the baby farms. However Mr Bumble and the board regularly covered for up these deaths to keep

  2. How does Charles Dickens expose Victorian society's awful treatment of the poor?

    People who ere rich (like Mr Brownlow) get treated differently in court than the poor people do (like Oliver) Mr Brownlow was reading a book when his handkerchief was stolen and he forgot to put the book down when he was chasing Oliver. When the bookseller comes in to intervene with the court case he mentions that

  1. English Coursework - Oliver Twist - Fagin

    this could also show to the reader that Fagin is violent and aggressive. It could also show to he reader that Fagin was only being nice to Oliver the night before because he didn't want him to run away, he was trying to befriend him for his own selfish misuse.

  2. How effectively does Charles Dickens use language to portray 19th century London society in ...

    This also shows how common in society was cruelty to the poor. This was not merely those connected with the parish, charity or with the system who were inhumane but all ordinary lower or middle class people. Kindness and compassion seem to have vanished from Victorian society.

  1. Oliver Twist -outline of the plot.

    arrives at the factory because she has to collect the money for the goods that were stolen the other night. Oliver's task is to remove embroidered initials on handkerchiefs with a needle. Next the ignorant boy is taught to filch those handkerchiefs from Fagin' s pockets.

  2. In (TM)Oliver Twist(TM)(TM) Dickens presents a powerful critique of Victorian society and its treatment ...

    Though Mr. Bumble preaches Christian morality, he behaves without compassion toward the paupers under his care. Dickens remorselessly mocks his greed, self-righteousness, absurdity , and hypocrisy, of which his name is an obvious symbol. Dickens intends Mr Bumble and Mrs Mann to be hypocritical, ironic and comical figures so they represent the worst of the middle and upper classes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work