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Examine the portrayal of Life On The Streets in Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” and Swindells’ “Stone Cold”

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Examine the portrayal of Life On The Streets in Dickens' "Oliver Twist" and Swindells' "Stone Cold" Dickens and Swindell are both social commentators of their time. Both the books deal with the current issues of the time they were written. In both 'Oliver Twist' and 'Stone Cold' the issue of homelessness is the main topic in the book. Dickens wrote this book to enlighten the people of his time (Victorian) of what was going on in Britain. Swindell writes with a moral purpose to deter young adults from taking up and living on the streets. Before leaving home both Link and Oliver were treated very badly. Link had more emotional abuse rather than being hurt physically; he'd had his dad leaving home and a stepfather 'Vince' moving in who treated Link as if he was unwanted, by locking Link out, and more than anything, Link feels Vince changed his mum. He left home after his GCSE's and lived on the streets; being 16 he wasn't old enough to sign on for benefits but was classed as an adult so he wasn't treated like a child who would be taken care of. Link stayed in Bradford until Christmas. He left after that because he knew too many people there. He found it embarrassing to beg from an old friend or a teacher. For Christmas day he went to Carol's (his sister) house; he was given a sleeping bag, which I can agree with him, would have been horrible - because it meant he was thought of as homeless, and would never make anything out of himself. On the evening of Christmas day Vince and his Mum came round. The final straw that made Link leave Bradford is that Vince began getting at him and no one, not even Carol stuck up for him. Carol paid for a one-way ticket to London for him and hugged him Good Bye: He chose London to become anonymous. ...read more.


cold feet, depression, illness 'and if you need the toilet you have to get up and take all your stuff with you so it cant get nicked. 'There are psychos' who'll knife you for your pack'. Both the boys receive genuine friendship and fake friendship. The old lady who gives Oliver food while he's going to London befriends him; she supplies genuine help, as her son is away at sea. Nancy truly cares for Oliver, and in the end gives her life so that he may be happier; she first cares for Oliver as she doesn't want Fagin to hit him as well as turn him into a thief like she was. Jack Dawkins (or the 'Artful Dodger') befriends Oliver but not truthfully, he just uses Oliver so he can get more praises from Fagin. Fagin uses Oliver and offers accommodation for work; after Oliver won't work Fagin needs to keep Oliver, as he is being paid to by Monks (a long lost relative), who needs Oliver the out of the way so he can inherit a fortune. Mr. Brownlow is a kind and loving man who is determined to take Oliver in and never stops trusting him. There are times when anyone else would give up hope on Oliver, but Brownlow never stops believing in Oliver and keeps looking for him. He even put out posters offering 5 guineas to anyone who can tell him anything about Oliver. Mr. Bumble sees this and goes to Brownlow and tells him Oliver used to be 'a bad lot', Brownlow replies with 'I would gladly have given you treble the money, if it had been favorable to the boy' showing he wants the boy to be good; he likes him so much. Link also has his fair share of fake friends but not so many true to him: Ginger is a true friend, he takes Link in and shows him the ropes; Link owes a lot to him. ...read more.


Dickens put sympathy in the minds of his reader without them knowing; he tackled a difficult subject by writing an entertaining and gripping story about it. Modern soap operas still do take on current affairs issues to get very emotional stories, as some people can relate to these. Gail in 'Stone Cold' was also trying to find an emotional story to give to her readers but ended up being caught up in a very dangerous and life changing experience. I believe Gail began doing the story mainly for money, but as the story continues she begins to get closer to the dangers and horrors of life on the street and she wants to expose the tragedies which are happening; but she can never leave her true life behind. Dickens writes very descriptively with long paragraphs describing each characters' looks and features. He does this, as there was no television. With TV, programs need no descriptions as you can see the characters. So working as the soap of the day he needs every reader to have the same image in his or her head. This style of writing is not modern like the way 'Stone Cold' is written which is done with very short and few descriptions, and frankly leaving more to the imagination and for you to decide (also Swindell even leaves the ending of the book up to you). I prefer to read the modern style (Stone Cold), as I find I begin to lose interest in the long descriptiveness of Dicken's style. Even though Dickens novel is full of extraordinary coincidences and events they feel at home in this book: whereas the few 'over the top' happenings are not well suited in 'Stone Cold'. I felt after reading both books, Oliver Twist was the best, even though I found it harder to read. I feel I didn't enjoy Stone Cold as much as it got too depressing and emotional. I look for enjoyment in a book rather than a moral and meaning. Ben Ford 10I ...read more.

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