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GCSE: Oliver Twist
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Dickens depicts Oliver as a victim of neglect and drudgery who was not born into crime but draw into it through untrustworthy people such as Fagin, The Artful Dodger and Sikes who told him 'not to fret' and persuaded him to stay with Fagin the 'spectable old genelman'. This behavior from Dodger shows that he is saying kind but dishonest words to Oliver to encourage him to stay in London with the pickpockets. Oliver's innocence is shows through irony, although Dickens is writing in third person he writes in way that shows Oliver's viewpoint which emphasizes the irony, for example
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The encounter that would leave a lifelong mark on him and played a major part in his inspiration for writing Oliver Twist. Oliver Twist, which was serialised monthly between 1837 and 1839, caused a sensation when it highlighted the troubles of the deprived young and their often horrendous experiences in the foul workhouses, and it begins with a 'narrator' instantly saying things like 'which I need not trouble myself to repeat' and 'for a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all'.
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He arrived in London after a long and tiring walk from the workhouse. Upon his arrival, he was taken in by a clan of thieves who taught him the tricks of the trade and treated him as one of their own. They assigned him his first pick pocketing job which, unfortunately for him, ended up in him trying to evade them. He then fell into the hands of a wealthy man who gave him the life he never had. There is a lot of sympathy all throughout the story and it has been included from the very beginning of the novel.
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When running the errand, Oliver is captured by Nancy and Bill Sykes and returned to Fagin's den of thieves. Oliver is forced by Fagin to accompany Sikes in an attempted robbery, needing a small boy to enter a window and open the door for the housebreakers. The robbery fails when the house is alarmed and, in the ensuing confusion, Oliver is shot. He is nursed back to house at the home of the Maylies, the house Sikes was attempting to steal from.
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Dickens describes the area where a Fagin life as the worst place Oliver has ever seen. He starters off by saying "A dirtier or more wretched place he had never seen". This is a bold opening and immediately tells the reader the place that Oliver has been taken to is not good. "The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odours", this paints a horrible picture in the readers mind. By using this language the picture painted in the reader's mind is exactly what Dickens wants the reader to picture.
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This is of no coincidence, as Oliver had no importance and no family to love him either. "Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan... perhaps he would have cried the louder." This quote explains that orphans are treated even worse than just normal poor people. The atmosphere for Oliver as he was born would have been very gloomy as the parish didn't care about him, the midwife was drunk, but worst of all, his mother had just died.
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Showing he doesn't care about anything or anyone, saying "I could smash your head as if a loaded wagon had gone over it", laying out the reason for the forceful fear Sikes has over Nancy in their relationship. Dickens cleverly reflects the different moods and differences in the lives between the rich and poor, describing the area in which Nancy and Sikes live as "a labyrinth of streets", leading us to believe that this could also be a metaphor for Nancy's life, helping us to understand that she was trapped in her own life.
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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.
The word 'Fatal', in the chapter title, gives the idea for the audience that something is going to happen. The first paragraph gives a very detailed description of the setting, and really sets the mood. The time is being described as 'nearly two hours before daybreak; dead of night, when the streets are silent and deserted, when even sound appears to slumber...' which builds even more to the tension. The use of personification on the sound is well used and gives a feel that can only be described as a shiver down your spine. 'Autumn of the year' has been associated with death and the end of life which reveals more to deaths.
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Before he is taken away to the workhouse Mrs Mann blackmails Oliver into crying and saying that he will miss her. But nothing could have prepared him for the atrocities of the workhouse. Dickens clearly illustrates the appalling conditions in the workhouse especially the hard labour young children had to do. He describes how families would be separated and then eventually starved to death whilst doing hard labouring jobs, an example being 'the rule' which allowed people to have the choice of slow starvation or a quick one.
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The apparent rage of Fagin is effective at showing the life he lives, and the effects he thinks he has on others. The expression of the phrase "mortification at the overthrow of his notable scheme" demonstrates the undulating confusion Fagin has. His barrier to the outside world seems almost impenetrable. Dickens creates a volatile relationship between Fagin and Sikes by making an image of Fagin in his mind. The fact that Dickens uses phrases such as "lips quivering so violently" and by describing his expressions specifically as "his face altered by emotions", shows us that Fagin is unsure of his actions and the way Sikes may react.
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Show how Dickens has created atmosphere and tension through his descriptions of setting and characters in the extracts Chapter 1 " Great Expectations(TM) and Chapter 47 " Oliver Twist(TM)
Additionally, the author is writing in the first-person, which can be seen where Pip refers to himself as 'I', and uses words like 'my' and 'ours', and so these emotions are able to be emphasized to the reader for they are able to empathise and put themselves in Pip's position, and so comprehend with how he is feeling in this daunting setting. The depiction of the marshland, the third paragraph, is a very vivid description, with continuous usage of connectives and much repetition of the phrase 'and that', for example '...and that the dark flat wilderness', '...and that the low leaden line', '...and that the small bundle of shivers.'
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I am, finally going to talk about Dickens use of language and images imposed by him. The board scenes are the main focus point of the essay and thus I will explain first the way in which the events unfold as to have a better understanding of the happenings. Oliver Twist is brought up in the workhouse and at the age of nine he is presented to the board; this is the first time he has heard of such a thing and is puzzled by it.
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In (TM)Oliver Twist(TM)(TM) Dickens presents a powerful critique of Victorian society and its treatment of the poor. Paying particular attention to chapter two of the novel, explore the methods Dickens employs to ac
In this essay I shall be writing about how Charles Dickens presents a powerful critique of Victorian society and the poor, paying attention to chapter two of Oliver Twist. Chapter two marks one of the turning points of the novel. Firstly Oliver is sent to a workhouse because 'there was no female then domiciled on the house who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist, the consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need.' This enabled the poor laws to act on Oliver as he would live and work in an established workhouse which allowed him to receive assistance from the public if he needed it.
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However, seeing Nancy's ghost makes him accidentally put the loop over his head and slips, falling and then hangs as the rope around his neck tightens. In the novel, names represent personal qualities. The name Twist is the most obvious name, as it shows the twist in fortune that Oliver will come across. The name Bulls eye also represents his personal qualities. A Bulls eye is a target and the name sounds unpleasant and violent. Bills dog has also got the same sort of personality as him.
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The narrator is championing Oliver's cause, compelling us to be outraged, acting as a moral signpost for the reader. Indeed, the tone of the narrator's voice is often aggressively emotive: "I wish some well fed philosopher, whose meat and drink turned to gall within him' whose blood is ice, whose heart is iron; could have seen Oliver Twist clutching at the dainty viands that the dog had neglected. I wish he could have witnessed the horrible avidity with which Oliver tore the bits asunder with all the ferocity of famine."
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Some of the areas I will write about are Oliver's mistreatment from birth, how Oliver and other children are mistreated by Mrs. Mann, Oliver in the work house and how Dickens uses didactic moralising. Oliver was born into poverty; Dickens traces the subsequent course of his life. The novel opens in a workhouse at Oliver's birth- Dickens shows right from the start the uncaring attitudes of the authorities to the poor in general, for example Oliver survives by luck not because of the care he receives.
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Oliver Twist was born into a workhouse after his mother was found on the street and brought in. He was delivered by the parish surgeon who had to do it by contract and a drunken woman. "He was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once- a parish child- the orphan of a workhouse" (p3). He isn't given any care. The parish surgeon just treats him as the next thing to do, and doesn't care about his welfare, and the woman helping him is drunk.
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The rooms they lived in were filthy and infested with vermin. The families got terrible diseases, which they couldn't afford to get treatment for, and would eventually die at an early age. The conditions of the slums were squalid. They were filthy and dangerous; making it almost impossible to believe people actually lived in them. They were built like this during the Industrial Revolution to house the huge surge of workers moving to London. There were no standards set when building them; they were built back-to-back and there were no sewer systems, resulting in horrific hygiene issues in the area of the cramped slums.
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The story Olivier Twist was directed at the poor lifestyle of the lower class people at the time, Dickens tried hard to get this across to the people reading his book. Dickens wanted to shock the readers and show what criminals were really like and to reveal the horrors and violence in the London slums In the 1800's there was a big difference between the upper and lower class people, the lower class people had such a hard life an the life expectance was very low.
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Even by cruel orphanages. This technique he used in his books created an image for the reader of the characters in his book. In this case it created sympathy by the readers towards Oliver Twist. He also employs lots of coincidences in his books. For example in the book 'Oliver Twist' Oliver turns out to be the lost nephew of the upper class family which rescues him from the dangers of the pickpocket group. Charles Dickens always tries to show that good will always wins.
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Nancy liked Oliver because he was very polite and had good manners compared to most of the other people in that house. She was a paradoxical character and he was "The victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception" A few days later Oliver went out with the Artful Dodger and Charlie to the market, where they saw a rich man named Mr. Brownlow, the artful dodger had removed a wallet from Mr. Brownlow's pocket without him even noticing and he put the wallet into Oliver hand, and began to shout thief, For that Oliver was taken to court but luckily Oliver was freed he didn't have anywhere to go to.
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Dairy Entry Two: I was up and awake, I could not sleep, I had a strange feeling which was surrounding me. I was drunk and tired, but I could not sleep, I knew that something was bothering me. Since Oliver had arrived, I have had a change of heart; I knew that Oliver should not join us criminals. I had a strange feeling and that feeling was telling me to look after and care for Oliver. I had a sense of hatred, telling me that Oliver did not like me, but that did not affect me caring and looking after him.
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People were probably being picked on and chucked around like some, "bunch of potatoes". It was not easy for the poor, because they had to struggle with those conditions, but they did have to get the money, for them and their family. In the Victorian times, it was very unfair to the poor. A law was passed on, saying that if you could not provide food for you and your family, you would have to go to the workhouse to earn the money. Charles Dickens has seen how the poor were treated when his father got into debt and he wanted the rich people to understand what it was like and how so many poor people became involved in crime.
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However, when the Monthly Magazine accepted his story, "A Dinner at Poplar Walk" (1833), Dickens was diverted into his subsequent literary career. He published a series of sketches of daily life in London in the Evening Chronicle, using the pseudonym "Boz", his younger brother's childhood nickname. Through this work, he met his wife, Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of the Evening Chronicle's co-editor; they married in 1836. Throughout his life Dickens disliked the law. Since he had experienced both sides of life being rich and poor through different periods of his childhood Dickens was completely against the poor law.
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How Does Charles Dickens Expose Victorian Society's Awful Treatment of Children of the Poor in the Novel Oliver Twist?
As Oliver struggles to take his first breath, Dickens describes the 'office of respiration', with irony, as 'a troublesome practice'. Describing something so necessary to survival with such indifference implies that the authorities didn't much care whether or not they practiced it or not, and in actuality found the fact that they did troublesome. On the final page of the chapter, Dickens describes the nurse dressing Oliver in rags, and how this instantly transforms him into a lower class child, whereas before it would have 'been hard for even the haughtiest stranger to assign him his proper place in society'.
- Word count: 1339