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The novel Oliver Twist was written in 1867 by Charles Dickens, a social reformer and also a philanthropist.

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Introduction

The novel Oliver Twist was written in 1867 by Charles Dickens, a social reformer and also a philanthropist. Dickens had a particular aim in writing the novel. He wanted to show the reality of underclass criminals, traditionally glamorized in fiction. He was motivated by writing such personal experiences as his obsession with grinding poverty was intense. Dickens was middle lower class. His father was jailed for debt and with know one to maintain him, he was sent to work in a blacking factory. The labour force incorporated urchins and rough working class lads, here he was forced to accept the reality of poverty. Bill Sikes is one of the main characters in Oliver Twist he is essential to Dickens aim because he illustrates criminality and poverty. Critics stated that Sikes had no redeeming features, but the truth is he has. 'it is TRUE every man who has watched these melancholy shades of life must know it to be so.' And because it is so unrealizable that people like Bill do exist Dickens offers the reality to poverty, hypocrisy, crime and hunger. Dickens use of superlatives shows us how he tries to paint a picture of the exactness of underground criminals. 'To paint them all in their deformity and wretchedness.' Bill is the archetypal villain in Oliver Twist, his actions ruin the life of prostitute Nancy who saves Oliver because she doesn't want Fagin and Sikes to corrupt his life just like they corrupted hers. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens stresses the word den, which sounds illegal and secretive in order to emphasize the obscure criminal underground. Sikes visited other criminals who were part of the underground in squalid, dark and gloomy hideouts where 'no ray of sunlight ever shone in the summer.' Sikes was directly a stereotypical rogue, he was always in a violent state, even when he was confused 'violently bemused.' Many suffered Sikes furious frame of mind but quick witted characters like Bates kept things from Sikes to prevent his uproar unlike Bulls-eye, an Albino dog, who was more of a stress reliever then a pet. Sikes believed that by beating up the dog he would be more powerful. 'Began to assail the animal most furiously.' No matter how much Sikes would beat up the dog, Bulls-eye never left Sikes. Towards the end Bulls-eye began to look vicious and ready to attack to Sikes, eventually Bulls-eye did leave and this exemplifies supreme irony. Another theory is that the dog is different, he has red eyes and white skin and if he was human he wouldn't have been accepted just like Sikes, who isn't accepted by the majority of people. In the chapter Fatal consequences, Sikes kills his lover Nancy brutally. When Oliver got kidnapped, Nancy began to turn against the plan and felt pitiful for Oliver and regretted helping Sikes, who is coldly logical and Fagin in capturing him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sikes was in shock and he tried to run away from his guilty conscience but he couldn't escape the phantom, because it was in his own mind. Dickens emphasises Sikes guilty conscience 'seemed suspicious' and his conscience was being persuaded by Nancy's ghost of memories of her pleading for her life 'last low cry.' So he decided to leave London and head for the country side as he was increasingly paranoid. He had physical manifestations as his body began to tremble and sweat, he kept referring to Nancy's dead body as 'it'. Sikes physical appearance changed dramatically, he looked like a ghost, his eyes had shrunk to the ground, his voice was hollow and he accepted his downfall. He spent many days looking for a place to sleep and he hadn't eaten for days, unluckily he overheard talk of the murder he committed, but he seemed 'apparently unmoved.' Eventually when Sikes went to eat in a pub, he came across a salesman, who was trying to sell a stain remover. Although Sikes had covered up the crime and disposed the weapons and also cut out the blood stains and burnt them, he had forgot about his hat and the salesman took the hat as to show well it worked. Sikes took this to the extreme, he grabbed his hat and stormed off. It is apparent that Sikes is still paranoid, he thinks people know its him who committed the crime and he thinks that by returning to London everything would be back to normal. ...read more.

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