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

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What does the character of Bill Sykes bring To the novel of 'Oliver Twist'? In 'Oliver Twist' Bill Sykes brings terror to the novel, which adds to the suspense and makes you want to read on. Bill Sykes is brutal which you soon realise when he delights in beating his dog or girlfriend, Nancy. Many novels of this time were full of such characters and Dickens, a playwright and an actor as well as a novelist, knew then well. The orphan Oliver Twist escapes from the workhouse by running away to London. Oliver is introduced to Fagin who trains him to be a thief and he is then taken on a burglary with Sykes, Oliver recovers from being shot in the burglary and Nancy nurses Sykes back to full health. Sykes kills Nancy, which has a terrible effect on him, and he later kills himself. Bill Sykes brings the real terror to the novel but he is also extremely unpredictable. Rarely he can seem quite reasonable and occasionally shows kindness to his dog and girlfriends, but generally he keeps everyone in fear of what he is going to do next. ...read more.


He is also quite ready to send Nancy out to work and possibly profit from what she does. From all of this we can gather further evidence that he is ungrateful for any help he received. Sykes treats his dog very badly, it receives regular kicks and is threatened constantly. At one time when he was going to escape he contemplates killing, "The dog, though. If any descriptions of him were out, it would not be forgotten that the dog was missing." Sykes is a typical bully who shows no remorse for what he does to others. We see evidence of this when he takes Oliver on the burglary with him and does not care whether Oliver gets injured. Sykes has no respect for Fagin and you can tell this by the way he speaks to him. You can see Fagin is afraid of him but Fagin does like to have the last word. If Sykes does not get his own way he will turn to violence as we see with the arguments over Oliver, "... ...read more.


This act of violence shows that he is selfish and shows no help or sympathy to others. Although he shows no feeling towards others Sykes suffers very badly after Nancy's death as he keeps seeing Nancy's eyes, "The eyes again!" he cries in an unearthly screech. He finally comes to his death on the rooftops with people chanting him. This gives the novel more anticipation and suspense to make it compelling and interesting. When Dickens uses the word unearthly this shows that it is not normal and that people hated Bill Sykes and would be happy with his death. Dickens does make us feel some sympathy for Sykes : his desperate flight across the rooftops, pursued by the baying crowd, is a typical dramatic Dickens. I have come to the conclusion that Sykes is a criminal and an evil man who represents the brutality of life in London at this time in the 19th Century. Yet, Dickens also gives him little human touches and so reminds us that perhaps the harsh environment of London has made Bill Sykes this way. Those human touches make him more believable to the reader. James Vandenbussche 10-3 10.01.01 ...read more.

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