Oliver Twist

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Oliver Twist

 What are the most effective settings in “Oliver Twist” and why ?

Set in 1848, Oliver Twist is the story of an orphan, born in a workhouse and brought up in harsh and cruel conditions, half-starved by the corrupt parish authorities. He is unlucky enough to be chosen to ask for more gruel and is immediately found employment in an undertaker’s establishment where he is treated quite as badly as he was in the workhouse. He escapes and makes his way to London where he falls in with the Artful Dodger, a boy of his own age, who introduces him to the villainous Fagin. Fagin runs a gang of boys who are pickpockets and thieves, and whose associates are Bill Sykes, a violent criminal, and his girlfriend, Nancy.


Oliver is caught up in a series of misadventures in which he is wrongly accused of thieving, is taken in by Mr Brownlow, a kindly benefactor, and is recaptured by Fagin. Forced to take part in a robbery with Bill Sykes, Oliver is saved by the humanity of Nancy who betrays her former friends. Bill Sykes murders her and is himself eventually trapped but dies before he can be arrested. Oliver is taken in by Mr Brownlow and given the promise of a better life.

All stories have settings. The setting is the place in which each scene takes place, the time it takes place and the different circumstances that arise in each scene. When describing a setting you are supposed to remember the five senses; what you can see, what you can smell, what you can touch, what you can hear and what you can taste; all of these components make a good description of a setting. Also many other different techniques and describing devices can be used such as the pathetic fallacy, space, clothing etc.

In Victorian society children were treated very different to modern times. Children would be expected to work hard, work long hours in order to be worth any thing to an employee. Children were used for the dirtiest of jobs, such as chimney sweeping, which when a child was doing this his/her life expectancy was very short. Children without homes often ended up in workhouses where they would pick oakum as a job all day, then be fed very little and kept in dirty and retched conditions. When a child was old enough to leave the workhouse he would usually be living on the streets.

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In the novel “Oliver Twist” Charles Dickens described many different settings using many different methods, and in many various settings. One of the settings that Charles Dickens described successfully was the poor house setting; he used many different methods in his description of this setting. The techniques that I found particularly effective were “assonance”, an example of this technique is "Eager eyes as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed” the alliteration of a vowel is very effective in describing the child’s needs and what they are thinking about the most. Another technique ...

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