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Consider the presentation of bullying within the novel, Oliver Twist, and how Dickens emphasises the plight of the victims, Nancy and Oliver, against the cruelty of society, Fagin and Bill Sikes.

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Amy Brown Consider the presentation of bullying within the novel, Oliver Twist, and how Dickens emphasises the plight of the victims, Nancy and Oliver, against the cruelty of society, Fagin and Bill Sikes. Oliver Twist was written by Charles Dickens during the period of 1837 to 1839. The novel is about the indictment of cruelty that children suffered at the hands of society. Bullying is a main issue within the novel, Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens based the novel upon bullying within society. There are many types of bullying used throughout the novel; including institutional, physical, emotional, verbal and group bullying. Throughout the novel Dickens criticises Victorian society. He wrote the novel based on the personal experiences of previous hardships inflicted on people. Dickens emphasised the treatment of the poor, the conditions in which children survived and the way in which society treated each other. Throughout the novel, Dickens uses irony, sarcasm and satire to reinforce his points to illustrate the conditions in which people lived. The subject of Institutional bullying is highlighted at the beginning of the novel. Oliver Twist was just one of the subjects of institutional bullying. In Victorian society, workhouses were very common places for individuals to live. People were sent to the workhouse if they did not have any where else to go. ...read more.


Dickens appeals to the readers senses when writing about the place where Fagin lives. 'Wallowing in filth', suggests a vision, 'air impregnated with filthy odours', suggests a smell. This gives an idea that Fagin is a horrible character before he is even introduced. Dickens also uses a comparative form to show what the place is like, 'A dirtier or more wretched place he had ever seen', while reinforcing the idea that the place is even dirtier than the workhouse. Dickens describes the character of Fagin using the words a 'very old shrivelled Jew' 'who's villainous looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair'. 'Villainous looking and repulsive' is ironic because 'Old shrivelled Jew' suggests a weakness, but this is also ironic as Fagin has power. He comes across as a weak old man. Fagin is referred to as 'Jew' by Oliver, this has a sense of judgement, and Oliver is doing to Fagin what Noah did. When Oliver first sees Fagin, he was cooking 'with a toasting- folk in his hand'. This is a metaphor as it has the implication of an evil, controlling character. Dickens highlights the fact that Fagin's character is dirty and unkempt, 'he dressed in a greasy flannel gown. Fagin's main technique, when bullying the boys is a form of manipulation. ...read more.


The reader gets a sense of goodness against evilness. The reader again sympathises with Nancy as she is murdered while Dickens emphasises Sikes evil ways. Bill Sikes runs away from the scene of the crime which shows that ultimately he is a coward, and his conscience finally dawns on him. After Nancy's death Dickens uses superlatives to show the reader how cruel Sikes crime is, he uses powerful words like 'worst', 'foulest' and 'most cruel'. Bullying is again highlighted throughout this section. Here though, Dickens has highlighted a different type of bullying. It is immediate bullying that is used. Sikes performed a nasty and brutal murder. Dickens uses a metaphor of the weather to contrast the murder, it is an ironic contrast though, as sun brings new life but it can not bring Nancy back to life. 'The sun, the bright sun' shows Bill Sikes truly as a vicious bully. Towards the end of the novel both Bill Sikes and Fagin die, while Oliver finds happiness and security. The book makes the reader aware of Victorian society, the sheer terror of the workhouse and bullying within that society. Charles Dickens uses a range of techniques to present the bullies within the novel. He uses a wide range of language, sarcasm and irony throughout. Charles Dickens emphasises many types of bullying and throughout his novel highlights episodes of violence and bullying which most of Victorian society accepted. ...read more.

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