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Discuss the presentation of Dickens treatment of the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist, paying particular attention to his use of setting, character and language.

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Introduction

Discuss the presentation of Dickens' treatment of the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist, paying particular attention to his use of setting, character and language. In Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, the most violent and darkest part of the book has to be the cold-blooded murder of Nancy. Nancy has been portrayed as a motherly figure to the orphans so when she is murdered, the reader feels genuine loss upon her death. The death of Nancy is predicted as Bill Sikes has been portrayed as the opposite of Nancy, violent and unpredictable. Most of his violence is directed at Nancy throughout the book and he unleashes his true wrath upon her in her final chapter, 'Fatal Consequences'. Fagin plays a big part in the death of Nancy, as he gets one of his boys, Noah, to tell Sikes what Nancy has done. Fagin's personality is very much like a wolf's or a rat's, sly and manipulative. The title of the chapter where Nancy is murdered is called 'Fatal Consequences'. Is it a fairly obvious forewarning of what is coming up. Dickens has used this title as a dramatic narrative device to prepare the reader of what is to come in the rest of the chapter. The word 'Fatal', in the chapter title, gives the idea for the audience that something is going to happen. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that they are both angry and frustrated, but Fagin suddenly changes his emotion, 'he felt all disguise was now useless'. The whole time that he has been speaking to Bill, he has just been manipulating him to get what he wanted. 'Without one pause or moment's consideration;' Bill Sikes isn't thinking now, he's just going to get on with the job. Sikes journey home doesn't take to long, just one paragraph. There is no description of the surroundings which is very different to the rest of the story or the entire book at that matter. I think the reason for why Dickens kept the journey so short was to show how Sikes is feeling, the journey home itself focuses on how Sikes is feeling. 'Without one pause or moment's consideration;'. This shows that Bill Sikes is not thinking what so ever and putting actions before thoughts. 'his teeth so tightly compressed that the strained jam seemed starting though his skin'. This gives an image of determination and anger in Sikes face making him lose is concentration. When Sikes returns home, he locked the door, and puts a door against it. 'It is you Bill!' said the girl but with an expression of pleasure at his return'. Nancy is obviously pleased to see Bill and does not know he knows of what she has done. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once he has left, he is unsure of where to turn. He can't go to Fagin and he has no family of his own. Sikes is shown to have lost control by his actions. He is unsure where to go and he constantly slows down, sometimes coming to a halt. Bill's aimless walking is showing his state of mind now that Nancy has gone, who really kept him sane. The contrast between 'Fatal Consequences' and 'The Flight of Sikes' is noticeable. 'Fatal Consequences' builds up to the death of Nancy focusing on how Sikes is feeling throughout the chapter and then 'The Flight of Sikes' is really the cover up operation. Sikes is has snapped out of his trance and realised what he has done and doesn't know what to do. Usually it is a clean job, get in, and get out. But as this one is Nancy, the only person to actually properly care for him, he knows he has to leave for good, which he does. I believe that Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist to undercover the sort problems that were happening in Victorian times. The homelessness, orphanage, prostitution (from Nancy) and domestic violence (which still happens these days). Nancy's murder is the most violent and eye-catching part in the book. Dickens doesn't only describe a very brutal murder of Nancy, he also brings the violence that is all around us today. ...read more.

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