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English Coursework - Oliver Twist - Fagin

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Presentation Of Fagin In Charles Dickens's Novel Oliver Twist In the novel Dickens makes his personal opinions well known. He felt very strongly that the laws were unfair for poor people and that the way children were treated in those days were also extremely dreadful. Oliver is portrayed as a typical orphan of the Victorian era, in that he is placed in the workhouse after his mother died and is given food and shelter during his childhood, However he is treated very badly by the head of the workhouse. It is important to understand that the way Dickens uses his language to illustrate his views on social reform and how loose the laws were that allowed characters such as Fagin to exploit the system. Dickens wanted the laws changed to help he poor and also wanted children to be treated . In Victorian times the attitudes towards Jews were extremely negative, Jews were viewed as the lower class. Dickens also appears to have this attitude as he describes Fagin in a very negative way. Dickens describes "the Jew" , Fagin, in an extremely bad light, as a dirty red haired man who uses children to pick pocket for his own living. The area around where Fagin lives is also dreadful; Dickens uses his language to describe the area in a very dreadful way. ...read more.


Dickens also describes Fagin's clothes, what Fagin wears appears to make him look very poor. " He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown, with his throat bare". This is meant to make the reader know that Fagin or "the Jew" is poor and doesn't dress particularly well, because at the time it was considered polite for men to have a covered throat. Fagin later greets Oliver by saying:" We are very glad to see you, Oliver, very". He talks to Oliver in almost a sarcastic tongue, because the Jew is not really pleased to see Oliver, he is only pleased to see Oliver because Oliver could become another pickpocket and ultimately make some money and a living. By doing this Fagin is exploiting Oliver's young mind, Oliver won't understand that the Jew is being sarcastic, Oliver will just think the Jew is being nice. This gives the impression that Fagin is a very sneaky character. Fagin then sees that Oliver is looking at his handkerchiefs and is very quick to defend himself on the origins of the handkerchiefs. "Ah you're staring at my pocket handkerchiefs! Eh my dear! There are a good many of them ain't there? We've just hung them out; ready for the wash; that's all, Oliver that's all ha! Ha! Ha! Again the way that Dickens wants the sentence to be interpreted is sarcastic, the way that Fagin says that the handkerchiefs are his own is obviously incorrect which makes the reader question Fagin: "where did he really get those handkerchiefs from". ...read more.


"Strike them all-dead! What Right do they have to butcher me?" His attitude has already changed dramatically from his old bubberly full of himself attitude, to one full of rage, terror and worry. Fagin has suddenly became aware of the act that he will soon become one in the long line of people to be hung for his crime. He is full of rage and anger because he is next to be hung for his crime and did not believe he was going to get caught. Oliver then come s in and talks to Fagin about their ordeal. "Oh! God forgive this wretched man!" cried Oliver, this shows that although all of the bad things Fagin has done to Oliver, Oliver is still willing to forgive Fagin. This is a typical Victorian ending in which Fagin gets his just end and Oliver the small boy who was at the end of some of Fagin's dealing forgives Fagin. The Victorian reader would be satisfied with this ending because everything ends up for the best. In conclusion I think Dickens created Fagin in his light because he wanted to show his attitude and the attitude of most Victorians in that time to Jews. In Victorian times most people did agree with Dickens and his vies on social reform and Jews. In Short I think Dickens aired a lot of his views on social reform, what he thought of the laws and Jews in the novel. English Coursework - Oliver Twist 10th October 2008 ...read more.

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