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Examine Dickens' fascination with crime, Police and detective work, and the city, and show how this is represented in the narrative of Oliver Twist together with some of his journalistic articles.

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Examine Dickens' fascination with crime, Police and detective work, and the city, and show how this is represented in the narrative of Oliver Twist together with some of his journalistic articles. You should be sure to refer to more than simply Oliver Twist. "For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble..."1 At the very start of the novel, Dickens introduces his readers with the very foundations that the major themes of his novels lie, this being of course "sorrow and trouble"2. What we also discover through the course of the novel is that Oliver undergoes countless amounts of hardships, therefore, from this; it is as if, Dickens is subliminally saying to his readers that, from the very start of Oliver's life he is destined for "sorrow and trouble"3, as it is this that we first hear of when Oliver enters the world. There is also an extra message added here for the curious readers to pick up. It is amazingly coincidental that the start of Oliver's life and the start of the book, should both in fact begin with "sorrow and trouble"4. Dickens here, is perhaps informing his readers that from the very moment the poor enter the Victorian world, it is all that their life is destined to amount to. Hence, Dickens also informs us readers that a very sorrowful Victorian tale of trouble is to come. It is, henceforth, rather poignant that the start of this assignment should also begin with such a quote. As I believe this is at the heart of each of the major themes: Crime, Police and Detective work and the City. Thus, through the narrative of Oliver Twist, and some others briefly mentioned, I venture upon the task of examining Dickens fascination with these major themes. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations both stem from and portray painful experiences that occurred in Dickens's past. ...read more.


A rather strange comparison of a child feeling relaxed at the soothing sound of his/her mother's voice, springs to mind. "They established the rule, that all poor people should have the alternative...of being starved to death by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it"18 The members of the board were "deep philosophical men"19 who administered laws, and established the inhumane rule above. Dickens brings to light that fact that, corruption existed in large degrees within the Victorian era, but more so domiciled at the very top of the hierarchy. Dickens uses the tool of humorous irony to display the poor laws that existed within the city, "they made other wise and humane regulations"20. The fact of the matter is that they actually in reality mad unwise and inhumane regulations, which deeply affected the poor, but profited them. Oliver was chosen by the other boys at the orphanage to request for more gruel at dinner one night, after making this simple request "The master (at the orphanage) aimed a blow at Oliver's head with a ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle"21 If this inhumane treatment was not enough Oliver was confined to a dark room by the board, which was of course through their incomparable wisdom. Dickens, through the clever usage of humour and irony, shows the readers that crime exists within the city at various degrees and levels, one being by the officials at the very top. "But the magistrate was half blind and half childish"22 The magistrate here could be said to represent the English legal system, and is of course supposed to be a pillar of law. If this is to be taken as the case, then it is quite obvious that Dickens doesn't just refer to a single magistrate being blind, but in a much larger sense, is referring to the entire legal system being blind. ...read more.


Pip sets off for the city full of hope and enthusiasm but upon arrival find narrow and dirty streets. Dickens in this narrative paints a picture of London and its life being almost uniformly depressing. Both Oliver and Pip, share many similarities, one being that they both had interactions with convicts, and another being that they are both practically orphaned at birth. In conclusion, Dickens fascination with crime, police and detective work and the city, is such a topic that one could write of it for hours. However, it possible to affirm that this fascination did infact stem from his harsh treatment as a child. Subsequently, through which he wished to paint a realistic picture within the eyes of the reader, and show how corruption does not simply exist in low life London but also at many degrees. 1 Dickens, C. Oliver Twist. Oxford University Press. London. 1961. Page 1. 2 Ibid. Page 1. 3 Ibid. Page 1. 4 Ibid. Page1. 5 Ibid. Page x 6 Ibid. Page 4. 7 Ibid. Page 4. 8 Ibid. Page 4. 9 Ibid. Page 4. 10 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/olivertwist/ei_downandout.html 11 Dickens, C. Oliver Twist. Oxford University Press. London. 1961. Page 4. 12 Ibid. Page 4. 13 Ibid. Page 4. 14 Ibid. Page 4. 15 Ibid. Page 4. 16 Ibid. Page 5. 17 Ibid. Page 10. 18 Ibid. Page 11. 19 Ibid. Page 11. 20 Ibid. Page 11. 21 Ibid. Page 12. 22 Ibid. Page 20. 23 Ibid. Page 9. 24 Ibid. Page 18. 25 Ibid. Page 20. 26 Ibid. Page 22. 27 Ibid. Page 22. 28 Ibid. Page 22. 29 Ibid. Page 22. 30 Marcus, S. Dickens: From Pickwick to Dombey. Basic Books. Great Britain. 1965. Page 71. 31 Ibid. Page 256. 32 Dickens, C. Oliver Twist. Oxford University Press. London. 1961. Page 35. 33 Ibid. Page 35. 34 Ibid. Page 35. 35 Ibid. Page 35. 36 Ibid Page 36. 37 Ibid Page 69. 38 Ibid Page 69. 39 Ibid Page XV 40 Ibid Page XV 41 Ibid. Page 86. 42 Ibid. Page 56. Rehana Parveen Par00086240 ...read more.

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