Monday, May 16, 2005


Overall, Oliver Twist is a well-written novel that emphasizes many of the key issues in the Victorian age. However, there are a couple observations of note that I have made:
a. There are many speculations that Charles Dickens was paid by the word. That, from this novel, seems to be an accurate statement. Dickens prefers to say in ten words what he could have simply said in two. For example, rather than saying "Oliver was sad," he prefers a longer (to say the least) approach with something like: "Oliver was depressed and mournful; the only thing on his mind was his misfortunate, and he walked the streets with a melancholy step, a desolate look shadowing his face - the only thing he desired was an inkling of happiness."
b. In addition, Dickens wrote in segments. In the Victorian age, rather than output the novel of Oliver Twist, he put out volumes, chapter by chapter. Therefore, every chapter ends on a suspenseful note, in order to keep the masses interested in his writing. Every so often, he would release another volume and he wanted more people to return to his writing and read the sequels. Only later was the entire novel bound into one volume labeled Oliver Twist.
c. More specifically regarding the novel, itself, it is, as I mentioned above, a little unbelievable that Oliver ends up with more family than anybody else. In fact, the title, Oliver Twist, is just a misnomer (it's a false name created by Mr. Bumble in accordance with his alphabetical method of naming orphans). One of the primary themes of the novel is Oliver discovering his true identity, yet the novel's title is his "fake" name! It's also ironic that, throughout the course of the novel, Oliver ends up with more family than anybody else. It's a slight bit fantastical that Oliver Twist ends up being related to nearly every single person he meets, in one way or another, be it the nice Mr. Brownlow or the notorious criminal that turns out to be his half-brother, Monks.

Despite these criticisms, I enjoyed reading Dickens and look forward to another encounter with this obviously brilliant author soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Chapters 46-53

Whew, that was a long novel. I'd love to comment on the novel as a whole, but I have so much to write about it, that will just have to wait for a later post.
In the meantime, let's go back to the basics:
1. supplication: appeal made to somebody in authority: a humble appeal to somebody who has the power to grant a request
2. alacrity: eager readiness: promptness or eager and speedy readiness
3. attenuated: long and narrow: long, narrow, and sometimes tapering
4. jaundiced: cynical state of mind: an attitude that is characterized by cynical hostility, jealousy, or prejudice
5. fain: happily: with gladness or eagerness
6. tottering: be unstable: to be unstable or on the point of collapse

Quotable Quotations:
1. "And now, the hand that traces these words, falters, as it approaches the conclusion of its task: and would weave, for a little longer space, the thread of these adventures."
~Dickens, in this seemingly deep quote, says that his hand falters, or shakes as he comes to the closing of this novel. He's almost implying that he regrets having to finish the novel. It could be that Oliver Twist has endured so much througout the course of the novel, and now, when he's finally discovered kindness, the novel ends. Dickens is almost wishing he could continue along these happy lines for more time.
2. "I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom I have so long moved, and share their happiness by endeavoring to depict it."
~Dickens, in sync with the previous quote (above), wishes that he could "spend more time" with Oliver in his new, happy setting. He wants the reader to experience more of the "happy Oliver," rather than the mournful one that we've seen thusfar.
3. "I have said that they were truly happy; and without strong affection, and humanity of heart, and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy, and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe, true happiness can never be attained."
~Dickens, in this quote, is giving us a message and his ideal view of religion. I believe that he's saying that, no matter which god you believe in, no matter how much you love Him, you can still never acheive anything without god's attribute of benevolence, or kindness to others. Therfore, a man like the beadle, who is technically in the employment of the Church, is not necessarily a good person just because he believes. Rather, he's actually the opposite because he lacks "benevolence."
4. "Within the altar of the old village church, there stands a white marble tablet, which bears as yet but one word,--"Agnes!" There is no coffin in that tomb; and may it be many, many years, before anyther name is placed above it!"
~Dickens refers, here, to a lone tablet, or gravestone, without a coffin actually in the tomb. This is the final image that he leaves in the mind of the readers as he closes the novel. It is this image that really puts Oliver's mother in perspective, and even though she, technically, did an immoral act, she was still loved. Someone (Dickens leaves this open to interpretation) placed a tomb there for her, even without the actual body.
5. "But, if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to earth to visit spots hallowed by the love--the love beyond the grave--of those whom they knew in life, I believe that the shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook."
~Dickens, in the second to last sentence of the novel, refers again to that "lone white tablet" with "Agnes'" (Oliver's mother) name on it. He's saying that if there was one spot where spirits ever came down to rest there because it was established and engrained with so much love in it, it was that empty grave. It's amazing how Dickens can really feed so much emotion into just one word on a simple, white tombstone: "Agnes!"

These final chapters of the novel are really powerful. They tie the story together, giving Oliver a sense of closure (he finally finds out about his family). Also, Oliver gets adopted, which is one of the happiest possible endings Dickens could have thought of, by a benevolent and kind man, Mr. Brownlow. Dickens, although he was a bit fantastical in the previous chapters (see my last, angry blog), tied the story together nicely in the end.

There are several overall main themes in this novel that are worth noting:
a. The theme of how horribly poor people were treated in the Victorian era and how it "ticked off" Dickens
b. The theme that orphans were considered outcasts, burdens to society
c. The fact that every single person has a good part of them inside; nobody is truly bad - "you are what you choose to be."
d. Nobody's future is set in stone (For example, Oliver was destined to be just like all other orphans and give up, eventually starving to death in a workhouse. However, he rose to the challenge and, as Dickens states, "...jumped to his feet and walked forward.")

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Chapters 37-45

WOW! I'm absolutely astonished by the events that transpired in these chapters. The suspense is brilliantly placed, the plot is starting to reveal itself. I'm just lucky I don't have to be like the Victorians and wait until Dickens' next publishing to read the end!
But the big surprise, I hate to spoil this for everone is: SPOILER [skip this line if you don't want to know]:
Monks, Fagin's friend and fellow thief, is Oliver Twist's half-brother!
But before I get to the end, I'll focus for a [quick] moment on the present.
That, of course, always begins with vocabulary:
1. donned: put on: to put on a garment
2. tenement: urban apartment building: a large residential building in a city, usually of three or more stories and with only basic amenities, where a large number of people live in self-contained rented apartments
3. breeches: knee-length pants: pants with legs that come down to the knee
4. repugnance: strong dislike: a very strong dislike or distaste
5. sallies: sudden action: a sudden burst of activity or springing into action (anyone reading this whose name is Sally, don't be frightened, the word is archaic)
6. laudanum: opium and alcohol solution: a solution of opium in alcohol, formerly used to treat pain

On such a brilliant section, there have to be some brilliant quotes, right? RIGHT???
1. "They were no sooner gone, than Monks, who appeared to entertain an invincible repugnance to being left alone, called to a boy who had been hidden somewhere below..."
~Dickens is giving some insight into the character of Monks, a shady character who we know little about at this point in the novel, saying that he has a repugnance, or dislike, of being left alone. Perhaps this will play a role later when aslearn more about Monks in the coming sections.
2. "With a sigh for every piece of money, Fagin told the amount into her [Nancy's] hand."
~This quote, similar to a prevalent theme in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice regarding the character of Shylock, also Jewish, is expressing the gentile way of making fun of Jews. Dickens, as Shakespeare did, is mocking the Jew and his want for money (in this case, as a thief) and the fact that he sighs every time he gives away a coin for Nancy to use, even though she's his friend, proves this.
3. "The girl's life had been squandered in the streets, and among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London, but there was something of the woman's original nature left in her still; and when she heard a light step approaching the door opposite to that by which she had entered...she felt burdened with the sense of her own deep shame."
~This quote, referring to Nancy, is a deep quote because it deal directly with the inner character of Nancy. Dickens is putting her ultimate conflict in this novel into words: should she follow her instincts against Sikes and against Fagin to help Oliver and share what she knows? Or, should she keep the information to herself, and try to feign being something she's not on the inside--a crimelord. (SPOILER [don't read if you don't want a surprise ruined]: In the end, she makes the correct decision)
4. "The two hastened back together, to bear to Mr. Fagin the animating news that the Dodger was doing full justice to his bringing-up, and establishing for himself a glorious reputation."
~This quote is almost poetic justice, since toward the end of the book, Dodger, the person who got Oliver into the whole mess with Fagin trying to capture him and corrupt him in the first place, the expert pickpocket, finally gets caught at his own game. This line is almost indirectly revenge for Oliver. Fagin's best pickpocket is nabbed and punished, implying that Oliver made the right decision to stay away.
5. "Pretty well I [Noah] think for a beginner." The pots I took off airy railings, and the milk can was standing by itself outside a public house."
~The ramifications of this quote are twofold. First, the fact that Noah is being corrupted just like any other boy under Fagin, putting Fagin the Jew in an extremely bad light. In addition, This phrase sets up a comparison between Oliver and his nemesis, Noah. They were raised together in the same house for a short period of time, but look how different they come out. Noah joins the crowd and becomes a thief for Fagin, like the rest of the boys. However, Oliver strives to become different--above stealing, distinguished, rather than diminished to a lower level of life.
6. “Stay another moment,” interposed Rose. . . . “Will you return to this gang of robbers, and to this man, when a word can save you? What fascination is it that can take you back, and make you cling to wickedness and misery?”
~This intense conversation occurs between Rose and Nancy on the London Bridge. Rose tries, desperately to convince Nancy to renounce her ways, abandoning Sikes and Fagin, once and for all. However, Nancy refuses; she claims that she's ingrained too deep in that sort of life to be able to leave it successfully.

I am absolutely astonished by the events that transpired in these chapters. How can it be that Oliver Twist is Monks' half-brother. It's impossible! Suddenly, every person that he meets on the street, plotting to capture and torture him is related to him? I find it most unbelievable. In addition, Nancy, who has been a criminal all her life, suddenly decides to eavesdrop on her boss, Fagin, finding out information. But it's not just that she finds out information, it's the fact that she creeps out, deceives her husband, Sikes, and goes to tell the "good guys," on the London Bridge! Not only that, but once they have learned Nancy's critical piece of information, they elect not to tell Oliver about it! Outrageous!!! He's been an orphan all his life, and now they know information regarding his potential family--and they refuse to tell him! Dickens, here is being absolutely fictitious. There is no way that Nancy would rat out her boss to these people, and then go back to him, afterward. Also, it's not possible that characters like Brownlow, aware of Oliver's connections, would decide to keep that information from him, after they know what he had gone through up to this point.

Ok, I'm calm now. There seems to be yet another progressing theme emerging from these chapters. Namely, that there can be a character who looks totally bad on the outside, but inside, their motives are different, or they are not who they seem to be. For example, Nancy is a villain from birth, yet her motives on the inside, and her actions that match those, are pure. She chooses to help Oliver, rather than obeying Fagin, her "master" since birth. Also, Monks, the ultimate criminal is not who he seems to be because he turns out to be Oliver's half-brother. As the novel winds down, we will undoubtedly discover more of Monks' true intentions regarding himself and Oliver Twist.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Chapters 28-36

I'm not exactly sure what to say about these chapters. Nothing particularly excellent, but nothing too damaging to Dickens (please see my comments below).
But perhaps I should start with just a few of the Charles Dickens really, really big words that he likes to use because it makes him sounds smart and people don't understand:
1. solicitude: anxiety: a state of uneasiness or anxiety
2. quaint (sounds similar to quail, but it's totally different in meaning): attractively old-fashioned: with a charming old-fashioned quality
3. undaunted: not frightened: not afraid or deterred by the prospect of defeat, loss, or failure
4. confound: bewilder: to puzzle or confuse somebody (Example: these words that Dickens likes to keep using)
5. benevolent (opposite of malevolent, if that helps): kind: showing kindness or goodwill
6. imprecations: curse: to call down something bad or harmful, especially a curse, on somebody

And....on to the [semi-brilliant, this time] quotations:
1. "...but that poor boy whom their charity had rescued from misery, or death, was eager to serve them with his whole heart and soul."
~This quote, while admittedly a little corny, is another proof to the pudding (I love these cliches!) that Oliver Twist is a benevolent individual on the inside, most likely due to the suffering he's gone through. He wants others to feel good, preventing what happened to him from happening again.
2. "if you [Oliver] only take half the trouble to please us, that you promise now, you will make me very happy indeed."
~Once again, Oliver Twist, while in the country with Mrs. Maylie and Rose, is promising wonderful things to the ladies. He's showing his inner kindness; Dickens is developing his character through these quotes, showing that he's not a rebel who wants to get back at the world for what they've done to him.
3. "They were so good to me [Oliver]! So very good to me!"
~Oliver is saying this in an almost suprised way. It's almost like he doesn't realize until now that there are nice people in the world, to the point where, when the two ladies are kind to him, he rejoices because he's never had this type of treatment before. He's being accepted for who he is, not an orphan thrown out and abandoned.
4. "How often did Oliver start from his bed that night, and stealing out, with noiseless footstep to the staircase, listen for the slightest sound from the sick chamber. How often did a tremble shake his frame..."
~These chapters are focused more on Oliver Twist's reaction to Rose's illness than they are with the illness itself. Oliver is standing outside Rose's door, listening for the slightest quivering or shaking from the 17-year-old girl. He wants her to survive; apparently, they have forged a connection that Oliver can't afford to break; he can't lose the few people that care for him, since they are, by definition, so few.
5. "Tears are signs of gladness as well as grief; but those which coursed down Rose's face, as she sat pensively at the window, still gazing in the same direction, seemed to tell more of sorrow than of joy."
~Dickens is relaying a deep message with this quote. He is saying that the essence of tears can be either overly happy or relating to grief. Rose just sacrificed her marriage with Harry, Mrs. Maylie's son, in order for him to have a more successful career. A key theme in this novel is sacrifice, especially for others.

These chapters are not nearly as exciting as the rest of the novel has been so far. They lack the action and flowing writing style of Dickens that kept the narrative going, encouraging the reader to read faster, sucking in the information. These chapters were a bit difficult to get through because of sheer boredom. However, this isn't necessarily a criticizm because every novel has to have some chapters that develop the protaganist and these lines did just that (see below). In addition, it's a little bit unbelievable that the entire family that was almost robbed by Oliver and his alleged gang suddenly accepts him and embraces him as one of their own. A bit far-fetched, if you ask me (I certainly wouldn't be that trusting).

The main theme that appears to be emerging at this point in the novel is the fact that Dickens is developing Oliver Twist into a caring individual who sees the need to help and protect others because he has lost so much. Ever since the beginning of his life, he's been shunned, pushed away, and beaten by others. However, it's not at those moment of getting caned or smacked that he breaks down into fits of tears or illnesses. Rather, he breaks down when he realizes that someone else has been hurt. For example, the prospect of robbing a house or Rose's illness, not his own.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Chapters 19-27

These chapters are horrifying; however, I enjoyed the way they developed the plot a little, giving Oliver Twist some action scenes.
First and foremost, how can anyone ignore Dickens' vocabulary!!!
1. quail (and not the bird): show fear or apprehension: to tremble or shrink with fear or apprehension
2. interrogatory: asking a question: asking a question, used to ask a question, or in the form of a question
3. twinkling: moment: an instant of time
4. genteel: well-mannered: having or displaying refinement and good manners, especially manners that suggest, or are thought typical of, an upper-class background
5. imperiously: arrogant: haughty and domineering
6. quartern: one fourth: a fourth part of something, especially of some old weights and measures
Sticking with tradition, here are a few of Dickens' "deep quotes" and my humble interpretations:
1. "And now, for the first time, Oliver, well nigh mad with grief and terror, saw that housebreaking and robbery, if not murder, were the objects of the expedition. He clasped his hands together, and involuntarily uttered a subdued exclamation of horror. A mist came before his eyes; the cold sweat stood upon his ashy face; his limbs failed him; and he sunk upon his knees."
~This quote clearly is another example that Dickens is giving of Oliver's true character. He's saying that Oliver willingly will play no part in the evil of Fagin's band of thieves, and as soon as he realized what was really going on, he collapsed in terror.
2. "Such was the aspect of out-of-door affairs, when Mrs. Corney, the matron of the workhouse to which our readers have been already introduced as the birthplace of Oliver Twist, sat herself down before a cheerful fire in her own room..."
~This quote is clearly significant because Dickens is almost certainly hinting at something that will happen involving Mrs. Corney and Oliver Twist. By specifically mentioning Oliver's birthplace again, for no apparent reason, Dickens "has something planned up his sleeve."
3. "Having gone through this very extraordinary performance, he [Mr. Bumble] took off the cocked-hat again; and, spreading himself before the fire with his back towards it, seemed to be mentally engaged in taking an exact inventory of the furniture."
~Dickens seems to be conveying a message here about the upper class. As a beadle, Mr. Bumble believes that he's important; therefore, he's always concerned with things that he thinks are of "utmost importance." By doing something as irrelevant as inventorying Mrs. Corney's furniture, it shows how shallow the upper class is--all they think about is wealth.
4. "...the matron [Mrs. Corney], who had been impatiently watching until the dying woman should awaken from her stupor, joined them by the fire, and sharply asked how long she was to wait."
~The middle-class woman, the matron, is also only concerned with trivial things like getting back to Mr. Bumble in the other room, rather than assisting a dying woman. All she thinks about is "how long" do I have to wait here in this room for you to die already!
5. "The Jew stopped to hear no more; but uttering a loud yell, and twining his hands in his hair, rushed from the room, and from the house."
~It's clear the Dickens is foreshadowing some connection between Fagin and Oliver. For some reason, Fagin is concerned that he get Oliver Twist back, at all costs, and so he runs out of the room immediately to do just that, leaving the reader with a question: "Why?"

These chapters were interesting to read because they developed the storyline, advancing the plot and thickening it (sorry for the cliche). There were three specific ways that the story was interesting, that I picked up upon:
a. Oliver Twist has a soft side for hurting others, most likely because he was hurt growing up, and is still getting hurt by society.
b. The unexplained visit of Mr. Bumble to Oliver's birthplace.
c. Fagin's mysterious concern with Oliver's welfare.

The primary theme that developed in these chapters is twofold. First, the fact that Oliver Twist has a soft side for hurting others. This is the theme of society having an effect on a person's development and character. Oliver Twist feels compassionate to others, not wanting others to suffer the way he has. In addition, this plays into Dickens' earlier theme of the rich bullying and beating up on the poor. The scene with Mr. Bumble inventorying furniture plays into that theme, as well, illustrating the fact that the rich care only about themselves and their wealth - nobody else.

Chapters 10-18

Whew! Those were some pretty depressing chapters, to say the least!
Before I ramble on about poverty, however, I must first call your attention to a couple things:
(a) Dickens' vocabulary is once again straight from the "smart-people-pages" of the dictionary, with words like:
1. staunch: loyal: showing loyalty, dependability, and enthusiasm
2. remonstrated: argued strongly: reasoned or argued forcefully with somebody about something
3. sundry: various: assorted but, perhaps for convenience, being considered as a single category or group
4. languid: without energy: lacking vigor and energy
5. circumlocutions: indirect way of saying something: the use of more words than necessary to express something, especially to avoid saying it directly
6. apostrophe (not the definition you were thinking - trust me): address to imaginary person: a speech, especially in the form of a digression, addressing an absent or imaginary person or a personification of an abstract or inanimate entity

(b) Dickens' insights into humanity, though his unique phraseology. Here are a few excerpts:
“'Stop thief! Stop thief!' There is a magic in the sound….Away they run, pell-mell, helter-skelter, slap-dash: tearing, yelling, and screaming: knocking down the passengers as they turn down the corners: rousing up the dogs, and astonishing the fowls; and streets, squares, and courts re-echo with the sound.”
~Dickens is testifying to the roudiness and barbaric attitude of society in the fact that they are all willing to drop whatever they're doing in an instant, in order to chase after a young boy, with bloodcurdling cries of "STOP THIEF!"
“By the bye, bless my soul!—where have I seen something like that look before?”
~This can only be a foreshadowing when Mr. Brownlow says, explicitly, that he recognizes Oliver from somewhere, but can't place him...
“Who, if this were death, would be roused again to all the struggles and turmoils of life; to all its cares for the present; its anxieties for the future; more than all, its weary recollections of the past!”
~This seems to be a phrase with a particularly deep meaning. It is speaking about Oliver in his incredibly when he's recovering from his grave illness and high fever. Dickens is reiterating the fact that no boy would want to wake up from a deep sleep, only to turn and face the real world, which, as has already been stated, is a pretty nasty place--especially for a boy like Oliver Twist.
“It had been bright day, for hours, when Oliver opened his eyes; and when he did so, he felt cheerful and happy. The crisis of the disease was safely past. He belonged to the world again.”
~Despite the last quote, Dickens is stressing the fact that you can't just abandon your problems. Rather, you must take action. Dickens seems to be almost admiriring Oliver's courage for rising to the challenge, waking up and confronting the world, anew. (However, Dickens perhaps adds a note of melancholy when he says that Oliver "belonged to the world," meaning that he was still a "captive" of the Victorian system of orphans. He was still alone.)

I am thouroughly impressed by these chapters. I believe that Dickens is zeroing in on the critical messages of this novel. He's focusing on the fact that Oliver is "tortured" by society, while at the same time, developing the character into a real human being, who has his own feelings, concerns, and sense of moral conscience and decency.

There seems to be a dual theme that's emerging in these chapters. First, the fact that Oliver Twist is still an orphan and still prey to society's picking on him, and thrusting him downward. However, at the same time, there appears to be an element of hope for Oliver Twist - he's developing into a decent person (for example, becoming disgusted when he learns that he's accidently gotten involved in a pickpocketing gang, headed by Fagin). Also, with the addition of Mr. Brownlow, Dickens seems to be foreshadowing that Oliver might have a family alive...somewhere.

Chapters 1-9

I've noticed that Dickens uses a very sophisticated vocabulary in Oliver Twist. Here are some "indubitable" examples:
1. indubitably: not to be doubted: obvious or definitely true, and not to be doubted
2. Magnanimously: noble-spirited: very generous, kind, or forgiving
3. choleric: bad-tempered: liable to become angry or irritated, or showing anger or irritation
4. Officiously: unofficial: unofficial or informal, especially in political or diplomatic dealings
5. Imputation: accusation: an accusation of wrongdoing or an attribution of blame
6. Tremulous: fearful: showing fear or nervousness about something

In addition, Dickens inlet's some fascinating quotes which may have some significance:
1. “But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast. It had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment; and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his having any ninth birth-day at all.”
~Dickens appears to be foreshadowing that Oliver Twist has spirit, and is a resilient person. This may play a greater role in the novel, as we learn more about Oliver Twist's life.
2. “As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the white-waistcoated gentleman was right or not, I should perhaps mar the interest of this narrative (supposing it to possess any at all), if I ventured to hint, just yet, whether the life of Oliver Twist had this violent termination or no.”
~Dickens may again be foreshadowing that Oliver Twist's life will end tragically and that he will endure much suffering.
3. “…three pound ten, Oliver!—seventy shillin’s—one hundred and forty sixpences!—and all for a naughty orphan which nobody can’t love.”
~ I believe that Charles Dickens, in this quote, is trying to express the quality of treatment to poor people in the Victorian era. He is implying that nobody can love a poor orphan, and that they are just burdens to society.
4. “This affords charming food for contemplation. It shows us what a beautiful thing human nature sometimes is; and how impartially the same amiable qualities are developed in the finest lord and the dirtiest charity-boy.”
~Dickens is mocking society in this quote in the sense that a rich person and a poor person are really the same because all they do is lust for more money until it drives them, ultimately, to destroy themselves.
5. “It [London] was the very place for a homeless boy, who must die in the streets, unless some one helped him. As these things passed through his thoughts, he jumped upon his feet, and again walked forward.”
~Once again, Dickens is bringing up the poor treatment of orphans and homeless people, in the sense that he's implying that they are outcasts, doomed to failure. In addition, he may be implying a little bit of hope for Oliver. Maybe he's different than those "other failures" since he got up and continued walking to London, despite his exhaustion.

My reaction to what I have read so far has been utmost disgust. Not for Dickens, himself, but for the way he describes the Victorian age as a dirty, filthy time when the lower classes of society were shoved away into homes and "workhouses." It is a sickening thought that Oliver Twist was fed by the undertaker's wife, and even more horrifying to know that he was fed the leftovers from the dog's meal. It absolutely disgusts me to know that Victorians treated anybody this way, but especially the poor people, who are in the most need, the most fragile members of society. To push them away, as in Oliver's case, rather than try to help, is nauseating.
Undoubtedly, I sympathize with Oliver Twist for being thrust into such a difficult position by the society which threatens him and makes him unwanted. It was not his fault. In these chapters, he is certainly not regarded as a criminal, and yet he's treated worse than one. Oliver Twist is put into a workhouse where their motto is "a slow death here, rather than a fast one from starvation on the streets!"

Certainly, a theme is emerging from Dickens' writing; namely, Oliver Twist is the representation of the classic, outcast, Victorian poor person, and Dickens is describing, in detail, the suffering that they endured, through Oliver. Charles Dickens seems to be disgusted (see my comments above) with the Victorian society in their treatment of the lower classes. He is almost indirectly calling for them to respect citizens that are weaker than them, even though it may cost them a little money, time, and simple human decency.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oliver Twist Title

Oliver Twist begins as a mystery. A strange woman gives birth to the protaganist of the novel, Oliver, and then dies.

Who could this orphaned little boy really be? (Perhaps that will come up later in the novel as a main theme.)