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dickens poor law

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Charles Dickens was born near Portsmouth: his father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. His father didn't make much money here and the family wasn't coping well. The happiest period of Dickens's troubled childhood was spent in Chatham, although the family moved around a great deal. By early 1824, the family was in financial trouble and the 12-year old Dickens was sent to work for a few months at a shoe-polish warehouse on the banks of the Thames. A few days later, his father was arrested for debt. When his father was released, the family finally had some luck as they were left an inheritance courtesy of a late relative. In 1827, Dickens worked as a junior clerk for a firm of solicitors in Holborn, but he hated the law, and was drawn instead to journalism. He learnt shorthand and began reporting at the Doctors' Commons Courts, and in 1831-1832 he was making shorthand reports of Parliamentary debates for the London papers. At this time, Dickens was toying with the idea of an acting career, and he remained fascinated by the theatre throughout his life, often directing and acting in shows to raise money for charitable causes and friends in distress. ...read more.


"He was badged and ticketed and fell into place at once, a parish child, the orphan of the workhouse, the humble, half starved drudge to be cuffed and buffeted through the world despised by all and pitied by none." Nine years had passed and we read that Oliver Twist is unhealthy and weak. "Twist's ninth birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature and decidedly small in circumference." This shows that Oliver has been treated appallingly from the moment he was born up to his ninth birthday. Dickens then uses irony and humour to put forward his point of view as he describes how Oliver is treated on his birthday. "It was his ninth birthday and he was spending it with a party of young gentleman who, after participating in a sound thrashing had been locked up for atrociously presuming to be hungry. Dickens puts his point across in an effective, thought provoking but funny way. It shows that even on his birthday Oliver is beaten, not given any extra food as a treat and locked up in a coal cellar. Oliver is then sent to the work house yet he had to meet with the board. The boy was frightened and confused. Oliver begins to cry steadily when he reminded that he is an orphan. ...read more.


In chapter four we are introduced to Mr Sowerberry the parish under taker who is having a general conversation with the beadle about business. "The prices allowed by the board are very small." "So are the coffins." "There's no denying that, since the new system of feeding has come in, the coffins are somewhat narrower and shallower than they used to be: but we must have some profit." Here Dickens describes a general conversation between the beadle and the undertaker he uses this conversation effectively as he shows that the children of the parish dying thinner than ever means good news for the business as they make a lot of profit. Mr Bumble changes the subject to Oliver Twist and Oliver is inevitably apprenticed to the undertaker. Oliver arrives at the undertaker's house with Mr Bumble, Mrs Sowerberry comes to the door and sees Oliver but she is not impressed. "Dear me! Said the undertaker's wife, he's very small." After Oliver finishes his supper he is taken away by Mrs Sowerberry to be shown where he will sleep. "Your beds under the counter. You don't mind sleeping amongst the coffins, I suppose? But it doesn't matter whether you do or you don't, for you can't sleep anywhere else." ?? ?? ?? ?? Oliver Twist How does Charles Dickens portray and make us feel sympathetic towards the poor in Oliver Twist. ...read more.

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