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How does Charles Dickens create sympathy for Oliver Twist in the first four chapters?

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Oliver Twist- How does Charles Dickens create sympathy for Oliver Twist in the first four chapters? Judith B Nutakor 11c Charles Dickens the author of the much acclaimed book, Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens was born in 1812 at Portsmouth the eldest of eight children two of whom died in childhood. Growing up, he saw his father go to the Marshalsea Prison with his mom and five other siblings because he did not manage his money well. He was put into a workhouse since his family had to sell all of their possessions. In the workhouse he had to stick labels on boot-black. However he later returned to school for a short while, teaching himself shorthand and was working as a court reporter by the age of sixteen. This gave him the chance to see how harsh the England justice judged; later on he got the job of a newspaper reporter commenting on parliament giving him more first hand knowledge of London and how the poor and rich lived. Charles Dickens begun writing sketches and stories about life in London in 1832. Sketches by Boz is the first sketch of his that was published in 1833 and the put together in 1883 which sold very well. Most of his publications appeared as a monthly serial. He gained recognition in Great Britain and America. As well as publishing he also gave public readings from his books. ...read more.


In short they had no belongings as most of their hard earned money goes to buying food for themselves. Dickens tells of Oliver's property in all his eight years living in Mrs. Mann's house fitting into a small paper bag. In short their power of dress labels them to be despised by all and pitied by none. It is seen as a stamp in their society. Almost all of the figures of authority Charles Dickens uses are corrupt and do not care much for the orphans they are being paid to care for. We see in the story one after the other that they do not seem what they are expected to be and live by helping only people who help them. An example is Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Mann. We see from the second chapter (Page 9) that as Mrs. Mann coaxes Mr. Bumble to relax and accept the drink she is offering and buttering him up by how intellectual he is creating names for the orphans in alphabetical order. Mr. Bumble who is quite pleased offers to put in a good word for her to the board. The drink gets him a bit tipsy and does not infact check how the children are faring. He turns a blind eye which goes to show how good Mrs. Mann is at drawing attention from matters at hand. ...read more.


Lastly we will note Dickens use of language is often sardonic. He narrates the story of being on the side of the poor. He brings out the brutality of the harsh system of justice and makes the poor seem helpless with no urge to change the circumstances they find themselves in. the tone in which he often use to describe the figures of authority is filled with mockery, 'What a noble illustration of the tender laws of our favored country! They let the poor go to sleep.' (Page 13). He uses examples to give us the specific view of what the characters are really like. In the case of Mrs. Mann he uses the story of the experimental philosopher who starves his horse to death (Page 8). Dickens is quite clever naming his character to express his views. Oliver's surname tells us of someone being twisted in the neck to death in other words he tells us through this name how he detest capital punishment. Also Mr. Sowerberry the undertaker's name pronounced 'sour berry' goes to say he is not a very pleasant man. This is another way of Dickens irony. In short the first four chapters of the book gives us an in depth knowledge of how it felt to be poor living in a workhouse in the Victorian age. We see Oliver representing all underage poor children living in the Victorian age, working and despised by all. Dickens gives us a clear insight on how life was like for them in the 19th century. ...read more.

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