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Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens wanted to do something about the shameful poverty in England.

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Introduction

Oliver Twist Charles Dickens wanted to do something about the shameful poverty in England. Dickens' family had been quite comfortable when he was born in Portsmouth in 1812, but his parents weren't very skilled at managing money. When he was about twelve years old, his family was confined to debtor's prison, in London. Poverty had personally scarred Dickens. One reason why Oliver Twist was so popular was that Dickens understood what his audience wanted to read and was willing to write it. Even though Dickens was young and hungry for fame, he wanted to do more than just entertain. He challenged people to consider things they would rather have ignored. Dickens' descriptions of London's slums were shocking in their realism. Victorian authors were not supposed to acknowledge the existence of drunkards and prostitutes, they were not supposed to use street language, even in dialogue, but Dickens did. As a court reporter and journalist, Dickens had met hardened criminals like Bill Sikes, and women like Nancy, both of whom appear in Oliver Twist. He had little sympathy for the criminals like Sikes. But Dickens knew there were others like Nancy who were forced into crime by their environment, and might still be reformed. Dickens wanted to do just that. As a public personality and popular writer, Dickens had a power to reach a vast middle-class audience, shocking them into action by his dramatic stories. In this essay, I study the character and presentation of Bill Sikes in the Charles Dickens' book, Oliver Twist. ...read more.

Middle

They decided to send Bill's girlfriend Nancy to find Oliver. In the meantime, Mr. Brownlow and his housekeeper were looking after Oliver. Mr. Brownlow sent him out on an errand, only to have him snatched by Nancy. Nancy and Bill took Oliver back to Fagin. On his return, Oliver pleads with Fagin to let him finish his errand, else Mr. Brownlow would think him a thief. Oliver makes a run for it, and Sikes almost sets Bull's-eye on him when Nancy prevents him. On Oliver's forced return to the room with Fagin and the other thieves, Fagin starts to beat Oliver with a club. Nancy loses her temper with Fagin for this and throws the club in the fire. Nancy then continues to maintain her anger and threatens the thieves. The whole time during this encounter, we see the way Bill Sikes treats Nancy. Sikes' shows us again how inconsiderate he is to others. 'Stand off from me; or I'll split your head against the wall' This statement to Nancy hints at what Bill could do, and later does to Nancy in the book. Sikes doesn't care about Nancy whatsoever. Sikes' relationship with Nancy makes them seem like they have been forced together. The relationship they have is completely negative, like they detest each other. Yet they are together, which could possibly be described as honour among thieves. Yet, Nancy abandons this code of honour when Oliver is in need, almost as if she was an older sister looking out for him. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Bill kills Nancy, good still prevails when Sikes accidentally kills himself and Oliver is found and saved. Again we can see how Dickens wants people to change, in the way that he makes good prevail. Dickens gives the reader hope, just as he had hope that the world would change. Dickens tries to make people see that they should be good, and help improve the desperate areas of poverty. Dickens personal scars lead him to want for this, and page 145 in the book, he reveals a glimpse of life for him on the streets through Nancy. 'I thieved for you when I was a child not half as old as this! ...I have been in the same trade, and in the same service, for twelve years since...It is my living; and the cold, wet, dirty streets are my home; and you're the wretch that drove me to them long ago, and that'll keep me there, day and night, day and night, till I die!' Dickens wants Nancy to be saved from poverty, just like he wanted to be saved from poverty. Dickens and his family were eventually saved from poverty when his grandmother died and they received her inheritance, just like Oliver was saved when Sikes died. Dickens wants to confront poverty, he once wrote that poverty could 'blacken the soul and change its hue forever'. Charles Dickens just wanted to help make the world a better place. Dickens wrote this novel to make everybody aware of the problems in society, and did the best he could to get people to fix them. Matthew Jones 11c English Coursework ...read more.

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