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Oliver Twist

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Oliver Twist Coursework How does Dickens create a world of violence and fear in chapters 47 & 48 of Oliver Twist? Dickens immerses the reader into a dark atmosphere containing only evil, by using contrasting personalities and heinous crimes. In Fagin, Dickens attempts to portray a character who is resonant of terrifying wrongdoing. Fagin's manipulation of Sikes is successful, as it shows both the na�vety of Sikes and the extraordinary self-control of Fagin. Sikes's volatile reaction to the misinterpretation of events by Noah, suggests the unpredictability of Sikes's character and his willingness to go to extremes, based even on a low amount of evidence. By concentrating on his irrational behaviour and his devastation at his actions, Dickens shows Sikes as the very insensitive character he is. Dickens begins the chapter by describing Fagin in terminology, that otherwise, wouldn't relate to human behaviour. By using words and phrases such as "old lair", "he bit his long black nails" and "fangs", Dickens is comparing the human and non-human activity of Fagin. He is described in such a way, that the image created, is comparable to a mysterious creature authors often use to represent evil. Dickens employs a technique where Fagin is shown as he is about to act like an animal, like when he uses the word "crouching", as if to suggest Fagin is going to move in an unexpected way. ...read more.


Dickens shows that Sikes knows this and makes the character acknowledge that he must no impede the control of Fagin. He makes Fagin use Noah as a 'witness' to the events, and makes it as if Noah has seen the events so then they must be true. Dickens doesn't let Sikes speak during the revelation and so the audience is left wondering what is 'mulling over' in Sikes'mind. The instability of his character lets the reader; ironically, predict the future actions of Sikes. It also produces a response from the audience and helps them to forecast that Nancy may be in terrible danger. Dickens lets Fagin stir up hatred in Sikes, and then he wickedly lets loose the story of Nancy's dealings with Mr. Brownlow, so to ensure Sikes acts violently and to let him lose all sort of dignity, he may have had previously. The rapid loss of his discipline makes the readers think that Sikes had not contemplated what he is hearing and whether or not it might be true, but instead taking Fagin's word and acting brutally upon it. Quotes such as "Hell's fire!" "Let me go", proves this point. The fact that Nancy is the only true friend he has in the midst of all this, has been obscured by the lies and deceit orchestrated by Fagin and Noah. ...read more.


Dickens selective use of words which would contrast and comply with those times, make Oliver Twist a real record for people in the future. This may have helped in those times aswell, as Charles Dickens was extremely famous, so by writing such work he would reach an unlimited number of readers. The way he portrays the city during the era suggests to readers, with the luck of hindsight, that he may have disagreed with the laws that were in place and the squalor which was an overwhelming factor in choosing an individuals fate. He does this by symbolising the countryside, where Oliver escapes to with Mr. Brownlow & Mrs Maylie, as a place abundant with hope and prosperity where Oliver could develop, and in stark contrast to his fortunes in London, make something of himself. After researching a little more, I found that during that era there was a greater individualism in society. So when Dickens creates characters such as Nancy, Mrs. Maylie, Mr Brownlow and Oliver himself, it showed that even when society was divided, that there was still some dart of hope. And on reflection, there were still some individuals who acted out of others interests first. Maybe Dickens even wanted to use this pseudonym as a figure for people who were in that situation, to let them go from their confinement, showing that Dickens wanted to help society and by doing so make a better world for everyone. ...read more.

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