• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do the authors Charles Dickens, and David Pelzer depict childhood, in the novels Oliver Twist, and 'A Child called it'?

Extracts from this document...


How do the authors Charles Dickens, and David Pelzer depict childhood, in the novels Oliver Twist, and 'A Child called it'? In this wider reading essay I will be answering how the authors Charles Dickens and David Pelzer depict childhood to be, in the books Oliver Twist and 'A child called it'. Oliver Twist's story begins with his birth in a workhouse. His mother dies shortly after giving birth to him, though long enough to kiss him on the forehead. As an illegitimate workhouse orphan Oliver seems doomed to a life of misery. Though deprived of education, affection and adequate food, Oliver still manages to triumph from rags to riches, when he finally finds happiness with his Aunt Rose Maylie and his guide Mr Brownlow. 'A child called it' is written in the 1st person, unlike Oliver Twist, which is written in the 3er person. In the book Pelzer talks about himself, a severely abused child who survived to tell the tale. As a child David Pelzer's emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother brutally beat and starved him. On a regular basis his mother would play torturous games in order to punish him for petty wrong doings, though usually for no reason at all, games that nearly lead to his death. ...read more.


In 'A Child called it', David is born into a middle class family, and unlike Oliver Twist stays this status throughout. Oliver Twist starts off in the lowest class and gradually, through coincidences, ends up in a middle class family. Victorian society associates positive qualities with the middle class. Charles Dickens is making the point that Oliver gets social status through luck, and is the same person irrespective of his social standing. He is saying that society is unfair to judge people's characters, by their social class, which is one of the main themes in the book. This cannot be said for 'A Child called it though', and isn't illustrated as being important, which just shows how times have changed in that respect. I will now examine the effects of family life and lifestyle on childhood. Oliver's family only emerges at the end of the novel, though Fagin temporarily takes the place of a father figure. This is shown when Oliver is described as being one of his boys. Mr Brownlow also acts as a substitute dad when he takes Oliver in and looks after him. ...read more.


People eventually take pity on them, they are removed from their injustices, and their quality of life improved. Oliver is exposed to crime many times in the novel, for instance with Fagin and Bill Sike's. One of the main acts with Fagin is when he was sent out with the Artful Dodger and Charlie Bates pick pocketing. Oliver watches in horror as he witnesses Dodger attempting to steal a wallet from a respectable old gentleman, who is later known to be Mr Brownlow. Another memorable time was when Sike's used Oliver's stealth and vulnerability, in one of his schemes to overturn a house, this is later discovered to be that of The Maylies. In both cases there are positive outcomes to the crimes, and they both coincidently bring about characters like Mr Brownlow, and The Maylies, who help to secure Twist's future. After carefully studying the two novels Oliver Twist, and 'A Child called it', I conclude that I prefer the messages conveyed by Dickens. He depicts the unfairness of Victorian society well, especially when it comes to the treatment of children and the lower classes. Whilst 'A Child called it' conveys vividly one individual's poor treatment and experiences, I feel that Oliver Twist contains underlying messages that are still relevant today. By Siobh�n Commins 11E1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Oliver Twist section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Oliver Twist essays

  1. Two chapters of "Oliver Twist" examine how Charles Dickens criticises Victorian society for its ...

    He was to be dispatched to Mr. Sowerberry's "upon liking". This means that if the boys master can get enough work out of him without giving him too much food, then "he shall have the boy for a term of years to do what he likes with."

  2. Oliver Twist

    Bill Sykes is the main character in this chapter. He appears weak and needs to rest. Bill hasn't slept for three days and cannot stand up properly. He wants to know all that has been going on and what has happened to Nancy's body.


    Dickens once again makes us feel sorry for Oliver here, a boy of such a young age shouldn't feel lonely and hated by everyone, and it captures the reader attention again. The emotive language used is good because Oliver always uses his manners and sounds genuinely lonely.

  2. Analyse the presentation of Bill Sykes in the novel `Oliver Twist`. You should refer ...

    Charles Dickens represents this thug's character through the extensive usage of sympathetic mannerisms and corporal qualities, allowing us to fit this thug into our preconceived, stereotypical icon of a villain. "a stoutly built fellow...bulky pair of legs," this description of "The Robber" depicts him as a brute of a man,

  1. How effectively does Oliver Twist represent the 19th century orphans in the novel 'Oliver ...

    Sikes is a typical bully who shows no remorse for what he does to others. We see evidence of this when he takes Oliver on the burglary with him and does not care whether Oliver gets injured. Sikes has no respect for Fagin and you can tell this by the way he speaks to him.

  2. How suitably does Charles Dickens portrays the misery of the 19th century orphans in ...

    They were never loved and never treated fairly . "Mr Bumble was a fat man and choleric" - This line shows us that he is a contrast to the orphans and as I wrote above that the orphans were "half starved trudge" "victim of treachery and deception" and here this man is very fat which suggests that Mr Bumble ate too much .

  1. Chapter 5 of Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist

    The rich didn't show any respect to anyone in the book, and this is how Dickens gets people to feel sorry for the poor. As a reader, it makes you feel extremely sympathetic for them, as you feel they don't deserve it.

  2. 'Oliver Twist'.

    'I wonder they don't murder you! I would if I was them' - This comment shows how comfortably Bill can use violence in conversation. Dickens wants Sikes's character to symbolize the sinister, criminal presence in poorer areas of the capital city.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work