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

How does Dickens portray his attitude to charity in the opening chapters of Oliver Twist?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Dickens portray his attitude to charity in the opening chapters of Oliver Twist? Oliver Twist was written, by Charles Dickens in 1837, because of his views towards the divide between the rich and poor. He felt that the poor, especially the poor in workhouses were treated appallingly because of the Poor Law Amendment Act. Oliver Twist covers; uncaring and inadequate medical attention workhouses, the bastard clauses made care of infants, the fact that the food served was inadequate and monotonous and the abuse of power in major officials. Many people believed that people were poor because they were lazy, or for other reasons that were entirely their own fault. "God helps those who help themselves" was a popular maxim of the time. People resented paying taxes that were to be spent on those they considered were to idle to help themselves. They believed out-of-door relief encouraged people to be lazy or to pretend to be sick. It was said that they were too comfortable and therefore in order to ensure that only the really destitute applied for poor relief and it was to be made as unpleasant as possible. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens views of the people who were meant to be taking care of others were not high. He thinks they are inadequate for the job, are selfish and don't care about who they are meant to be looking after. Dickens writes about Oliver's mother. He says, "She imprinted her cold white lips passionately on its forehead". The use of the word "passionately" stands out at this point because it is the first positive image so far in the novel. Dickens is trying to show how badly unmarried poor mothers were treated in the mid 1800's. The doctor states that Oliver is likely to be "troublesome". This is shocking to the reader, as it is doubtful that he is to be any more "troublesome" than any other newborn. At the end of the first chapter, Dickens expresses that Oliver s "a parish child- the orphan of a workhouse...to be cuffed and buffeted through the world- despised by all, and pitied by none". Poor orphans had a very bad status in the mid 1800's as people thought it was their own fault they were poor. ...read more.

Conclusion

What a noble illustration of the tender laws of England!" Thinking of the saying "You've made your bed: now you'll have to lie on it" Oliver had no opportunity to "make his bed", he is just a victim of society. Dickens is being sarcastic when he says " What a noble illustration of the tender laws of England" because it is not noble at all, they had no high principles that you would expect from someone who is noble. Dickens mocks the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 because he does not agrees with this law at all and dislikes. The "master" is physically compared to Oliver. The master is described as " a fat, healthy man". Dickens is trying to show, by using such a contrast, how underfed and badly treated the boys and Oliver were in comparison the "fat, healthy man" that was the master who obviously got enough food to eat. When Oliver asks for more gruel, the master responds by aiming "a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle". This violence is not at all necessary and shows the readers how badly treated Oliver was. Dickens is attempting to say, in Oliver Twist how charity in the 1800's was a terrible system and how badly treated the poor were. ...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. How effectively does Charles Dickens use language to portray 19th century London society in ...

    The upper classes even thought the orphans and lower class people did not have to be fed too much and if they did they would get 'out of hand.' This we can see when Dickens uses irony when Mr. Bumble tells Mrs.

  2. How effectively does Charles Dickens use language to portray 19th centuryLondon society in his ...

    Dickens uses words like "loathsome reptile" and "hideous old man" to describe Fagin. The outwardly description of Fagin seems to perfectly match his inner poisonous soul which Dickens has introduced us to. Dickens suitably compares the corrupted souls of the criminals with "poison", which adds to the overall effect of

  1. THROUGH AN EXPLORATION OF THE WAYS THAT DICKENS PRESENTS OLIVER TWIST, DISCUSS WHAT DICKENS ...

    The first chapter closes with 'Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan, left to the tender mercies of church wardens and overseers, perhaps he would cried the louder.' This last statement leaves us feeling sympathetic towards Oliver. Oliver after eight to ten months was sent off to a baby farm.

  2. How does Dickens show the social injustices of Victorian England in the opening of ...

    Eventually Noah gets on his nerves so much by saying 'your mother, she was a nice one, a regular right down bad one. It's a good thing she died when she did otherwise she'd be in prison doing hard labour' - even though Noah doesn't have a clue who Oliver's mum is.

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

    Dickens mockingly calls her "a woman of wisdom and experience" because "she knew what was good for children". But she had "a very accurate perception of what was good for herself." Thus people like this elderly female Mrs. Mann, Mr.

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

    The little Dick was facing the last stage of his life . When both of them were a parting Dick said : "good bye dear ! God bless you!" - These words are very effective and Oliver is contended as it was the first time he had receive a blessing from someone .

  1. Explore the ways in which human suffering is portrayed in Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist' ...

    This suggests that the Chilean people are excepting their situation and are trying to make it as easy as possible for themselves. It also suggests that they are expressing their feelings about what is going on without attracting attention. It is also quite a sarcastic comment.

  2. oliver twist

    so much that he will not face up to the fact that Dick is going to die and Oliver will never see him again. Therefore how can you not feel sympathy for someone who denies the truth just so they can believe what they want?

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