Through this sarcasm, Dickens manages to punch the message to the reader about how cold hearted the middle-class was. Mrs. Mann and Mr. Bumble are careless about the death of 2 children. When Mr. Bumble asks Mrs. Mann how the orphans were, Mrs. Mann says “they are as well as they can be … except the two that died last week. And little Dick” We see here Dickens use of irony to make them look evil and uncaring. This image of the middle classes is further enhanced when Mr. Bumble immediately describes little Dick as “vicious, bad-disposed”. The tone in which Mrs. Mann and Mr.
Bumble speak doesn’t reflect any sorrow towards little Dick on their side either. Dickens manages to instill anger in the minds of the readers towards these uncaring and careless middle class citizens. Oliver Twist is given to Mr. Sowerberry as an apprentice Mr. Sowerberry is an undertaker and belongs to the lower-middle-class section of society. Young Oliver Twist is given a hostile welcome by Mrs. Sowerberry. Poignant language is used in the dialogue when Mrs. Sowerberry says that the parish children “cost more to keep than they’re worth” Dickens purposely uses such quotes to show the people the
attitudes of the middle class people towards the poor and the orphans. Mrs. Sowerberry doesn’t regard Oliver’s opinions. She tells him that he would sleep among the coffins and that “it doesn’t much matter whether” he minds or not. When Oliver hears the mention of meat, his eyes glisten. He devours the cold bits which were put by for a dog. Dickens tells the readers that he wishes a well-fed philosopher “could have witnessed the horrible avidity with which Oliver tired the bits asunder” Such graphic language such as “horrible”, “avidity” and “asunder”, the reader gets a clear understanding about the extent of hunger that the poor had to bear.
Mr. Brownlow is introduced to the readers as “respectable looking personage”. Dickens thoroughly describes Mr. Brownlow’s clothing in order to show the readers the luxurious background from which he comes from. He is well dressed in a “bottle-green coat with a black velvet collar, wore white trousers, and carried a smart bamboo cane under his arm” His clothing is a complete contrast of that of the lower classes. Mr. Grimwig’s clothes are vividly described as being “dressed in a blue coat… nankeen breeches and gaiters…
” This again proves that the Victorian upper class lived extremely luxurious lives compared to the “rats” scurrying towards poverty in the poor section of society. Brownlow shows great generosity to Oliver He lets him stay in his house although he is a “pauper” and it is there that Oliver is nursed back to health. This is a contrast to the workhouse masters who show no regard to the feelings of the orphans. Regardless of the kindness that Mr. Brownlow gives Oliver, we still see that he is an exception to the rule. Mr.
Grimwig, his friend, does not trust Oliver to the simple fact that he is a “pauper”. He says “I saw him hesitate. He is deceiving you, my good friend” Charles Dickens shows us how the climate affects the people. In half a paragraph Dickens manages to link all three classes together based upon their reactions to weather, “Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was a night for the well housed and fed to draw round the bright fire and thank God they were at home; and for the homeless starving wretch to lay him down and die . Many hunger word outcasts …
can barely open … their eyes… in a more bitter world” These lines suitable give a summary on the differences between the rich and the poor, the privileged and the under privileged. Here we cannot help but feel pity the poorer section of society for living a completely opposite lifestyle than the richer section of society. Dickens shows his mastery of linguistic devices with the integration of weather and contrast. In the novel “Oliver Twist” Dickens vividly describes different area of London and its surrounding districts.
These areas are important in showing us the key differences of lifestyle and privileges that one class possessed over the other. The houses of the poor section are described in great detail by Dickens to show the readers the horrid conditions which the unfortunate people had to live in, arousing our sympathy for the poor. The houses were “insecure from age and decay” and “were prevented from falling into the street, by huge beams of wood reared against the wall. ” Even the rats “were hideous with famine”. Here we see Dickens suitable comparison of poor people to filthy rats.
This graphic language shows us the intensity of famine and poverty the lower classes had to live in. Dickens uses strong comparison when describing the poor people saying that “They seemed so like the rats… outside. ” The section where the “paupers” lived in is described as “dirty”, “miserable” and densely inhabited. Dickens’s descriptive language transports us to the world of poverty in London in the 19th century. The criminal underworld is introduced with Fagin’s Den. The area around the Den is dirty and “wretched”. The streets “were very narrow and muddy,
and the air was impregnated with filthy odors” Dickens’s detailed description clearly show the reader the area in which the lower classes lived in. Men and women were “positively wallowing in the filth,” The description of Fagin’s Den shows us the poverty of the lower classes of London. The walls and the ceiling are described using contrasting words “perfectly” and “black from age and dirt” to show the extent of filth and dirt of the place. The beds were “rough” and made of “old sacks” which were huddled together side by side on the floor.
This symbolizes the link between the criminal world and the poor sections of society this suggests that the dire conditions which the poor people lived in may have left them no choice but to embrace a life of crime to either have revenge for their persecution or simply to obtain a decent earning, something which was hard to gain. Many children were forced to join the criminal world, due to poverty, such as Nancy and “The Artful Dodger”. Nancy wanted to save Oliver from a horrible life. Life as a child was hard for Nancy.
She tells Fagin, “It is my living and the cold, wet, dirty streets are my home; and you are the wretch that drove me to them long ago” Here we see life as an orphan is miserable, and that going into crime makes the existing wretched life of the orphans even worse. This is evident in the novel when Oliver wishes for death by saying “let me run away and die… ” to Sikes as he did not want Sikes to use him in any criminal activity. Dickens’s language arouses the reader’s sympathy for Oliver, as he suggests that death is better than life for an orphan through the use of emotive language.
Dickens uses Fagin’s Den to symbolize the criminal underworld of treachery, deceit and suffering. Even young children in the den were drinking beer with the “air of middle aged men. ” Dickens shows us that an orphan joining the underground sacrifices his childhood, a phase of growing up that can never be compensated. Mr. Bumble stay in a middle-classed house is portrayed to be very cozy and comfortable. Dickens describes, with great detail, how life is in that house, “Putting a glass of hot gin-and-water on the chimney-piece… his chair to the fire…. composed himself to read the paper”.
From Dickens’ use of detail, we see how middle-class people lived. It is of course a complete contrast to how the poor people lived. Brownlow’s house is a complete contrast to Fagin’s Den. A mere “little back room” in Brownlow’s place was a very comfortable and had “a window looking into some pleasant little gardens”. The view is a complete contrast to the lower class districts. We barely see anything described as “pleasant” in the novel. We can be excused to think that Oliver might have thought he was in a dream as he opened his eyes upon delightful sights that he had barely seen during his miserable life.
Dickens exposes the truth behind London society His descriptive and realistic writing gives us a clear image of how the different classes of London society lived and interacted with each other. Dickens has filled the novel with incidents and characters that are true to life. Dickens does not merely convey a story but he also comments on it. This way Dickens works his way through the readers’ minds. He descriptively portrays the distorted society of London through the use of various linguistic devices such as satire, irony and sarcasm.
Dickens’s point of view is highly respectable as he had lived in London since he was at the age of 10 and has experienced a harsh life in London. By reading Oliver Twist we gain a great deal of knowledge about London society. We learn that life was full of hardships for the lower class people. We learn that being born poor in London in the 19th century is one of the most unfortunate things that can happen to one individual, and we are made aware of the huge gap there was between the upper and the lower classes. The novel “Oliver Twist” has enlightened me on the social unrest that existed in the 19th century in England.
It has also made me understand the level of torture that many poor people in this world go through every day just to be able to survive to the next day. Dickens’ division of the social classes is still relevant even till today. Most criminals have grown up in an environment of utter poverty, just like “The Artful Dodger” in the novel. We also see many rich people in today’s world who savage over every penny of money they could get and yet still waste their money on the most meaningless things, giving no regard for the poor people of the world, who as a matter of fact, make out the majority of the planet’s population.
It is true till today that while one child in Asia is working in a toy factory, another child in Europe is enjoying the toys made. It is sad to say that social problems are here to stay with us until the end of mankind, as it is virtually impossible to please everyone. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Oliver Twist section.