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

Is Nancy the most important character in Oliver twist?

Extracts from this document...


Is Nancy the most important character in Oliver twist? Charles dickens wrote Oliver Twist in 1837, during the Victorian era of England, he was born in Landport, a suburb of Portsea, on February 7, 1812. He was their first child of eight siblings. John Dickens, Charles's father, was not good with handling the family's money. He was then imprisoned for debt on February 20, 1824. This experience left Charles psychologically scarred. Charles had to take the role of being "the man of the house" and had to start working at about the age of twelve. Charles Dickens attended school for a short while but worked the majority of his life. Dickens uses the characters and situations in the book to make a pointed social commentary, attacking the hypocrisy and flaws of institutions, including his society's government, its laws and criminal system, and its methods of dealing with poor people. Interestingly, he doesn't suggest any solutions; he merely points out the suffering inflicted by these systems and their deep injustice. Dickens basically believed that most people were good at heart but that their good impulses could be distorted by social ills. Oliver Twist was a young boy born into a workhouse but orphaned, as his mother dies straight after giving. Oliver is then left for life in an orphanage; he decides to run away into London and soon gets involved in the underworld. Although the whole novel revolves around Oliver Twist, my coursework question will be focusing on Nancy, and how important she is in the story. ...read more.


Nancy has such compassion for Oliver that she is prepared to go to extremes to save him, even risk her life for him. Evidence of that is shown as she even stands up to Bill Sykes "keep back the dog Bill! He'll tear the boy to pieces... the boy shant be torn down by the dog, unless you kill me first." This shows Nancy's commitment in saving Oliver whatever it takes, even to stand up to Sykes who is a violent, aggressive and intimidating man. This phase of Nancy defending Oliver shows that she has good conscience. "God almighty help me... I wish I had been struck dead in the street... than lend a hand in bringing him here. He's a thief, a liar, and a devil, all that are bad, from this night forth. Isn't that enough for the old wretch, without blows?" now, Nancy's guilty conscience kicks in as she now feels totally guilty about helping Fagin and Sykes get Oliver back. "I have served you from being ill-used... I have promised for your being quite and silent; if you are not, you will do harm to yourself and me too, and perhaps be my death... don't let me suffer more for you... Hush! Every word from you is a blow for me!" Dickens uses this quote to interpret what will happen later on in the novel. This increases the reader's interest. The purpose of Nancy's complex character is to show that not everybody in the underworld is 'bad', nobody in the underworld can choose their position in society and ...read more.


In this scene Nancy was looking helpless and defenceless against a raging and aggressive man, this adds sympathy to Nancy's character. " The robber sat regarding her, for a few seconds, with dilated nostrils and heavy breasts; and then, grasping her by the head and throat, dragged her into the middle of the room. The housebreaker freed one arm, and grasped his pistol. The certainty of immediate detection if he fired, flashed across his mind even in the most of his fury; and he beat it twice with all the force he could summon, upon the upturned force that he almost touched his own." Sykes kills her in cold blood, making her death have more impact. " She staggered and fell nearly blinded with the blood that rained down from a deep gash in her forehead." Nancy's death description was nothing but gruesome, brutal and shocking. "It was a ghastly figure to look upon." The unfairness of her death evokes more sympathy from the reader. Nancy's character is the most important in the sense that she allows the reader to feel for the poor. Dickens uses her character for this purpose. She acts like a representative for the lower classes. Nancy's character is also the most important in the sense that she shows that not all people in the underworld are bad. They do have good consciences and they do have feelings for the others, it is just the simple case of environment that forces them to do what they do, and Dickens proves that in Nancy's character. Therefore I conclude that Nancy is, in fact, the most important character in Oliver Twist. ...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. After studying 'Oliver Twist' the reader gains understanding of the true horrors that exist ...

    Dickens has impartially displayed this situation clearly when he wrote: 'though costly coloured glass and paper mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it sheds its equal ray.' This can be found just after the murder of Nancy in Chapter 48: the flight of Sikes.

  2. Oliver Twist Nancy Diary Entries

    I was so happy that I sorted this mess up, but I feared that someone was spying on me and this gave me a shiver around my body.

  1. How effectively does Charles Dickens use language to portray 19th century London society in ...

    It helps us understand why the people behave as they do and tells us of the difficulties people faced at the time. The setting provides the stepping stone to the characters, as we have already seen is directly to their surroundings.


    Oliver was being closely watched whilst he was kept prisoner with only himself to keep him company. Oliver being so little and frightened makes the reader once again feel extreme sympathy for the child as he is left with only the cold and damp floor to offer him protection.

  1. Analysis of the Character Fagin, in Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist'

    not human, nor should we feel remotely sorry for his abrupt and brutal end. However, once again, Dickens uses a classic technique, where he tries to raise the reader's hopes regarding Fagin, one final time. When Mr Brownlow asks Fagin the whereabouts of papers concerning Oliver's inheritance, after immediate denial,

  2. What does the character of Bill Sykes bring To the novel of ‘Oliver Twist’?

    Fagin is obviously afraid of the physical strength of Sykes but Sykes is still wary of Fagin. Sykes is very selfish and does not care how he treats people. An example of this is when Sykes takes Oliver on a burglary when he forces Oliver to climb though the window.

  1. Show how Dickens has created atmosphere and tension through his descriptions of setting and ...

    Sikes by the wrist, 'as if to prevent his leaving the house before he had heard enough.' This is a subtle, yet astute action, assuring the reader of Fagin's sly nature, opposing that of Sikes', who would generally act on impulse and not feel the need to refrain from using violence.

  2. Oliver Twist: Nancy

    As there is no doubt they were.'' This tells that even though she may be part of the underworld she still was a nice person so it makes Nancy seem a little more complex compared to the other characters. Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse. His mother died shortly after he was born.

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