“Oliver fell on his knees and joining his palms together, prayed that they would stare, beat him, kill him if they pleased -rather then send him away, with that dreadful man”, here we witness two admirable qualities of Oliver. We see his innocent nature, where he would rather die then go with the man in question. We also see his faith and realize that he is emotionally scared. We find Oliver who has been rejected by society and by man in general, turns towards God for support as no one other then God helps or even listen to him or the other lonely orphans.
Dickens gives him those qualities so that he could acquire sympathies and thus make Oliver’s sufferings all the more intense. Criticism at this point could be author’s overuse of exaggeration where he dramatizes Oliver’s misfortunes. Oliver experienced dreadful cruelty, and Dickens is ruthless in showing that to his readers. But I just don’t believe that a boy who had Oliver’s upbringing until the age of 10, a boy who’d experienced such hardship would be quite the boy Dickens describes. It was as if his feelings were never hurt, as if he never took anything to his heart.
Oliver has great decency and strength, but he’s been dragged up dreadfully and it’s a great compliment to his inner strength that he survives as he moves on attempting to do what is morally acceptable by the society. His character involves a sense of toughness, hardness and a sense of determination. Orphans were subject to physical and mental abuse, “they were brought up by hand, regularly beaten”, they were punished many times and were kept in “solitary confinement” and were used to set an example to the other children.
The “grinding poverty” and the fear is revealed to us in the “systematic course of treachery and deception” faced by the orphans. Dickens uses the words “treachery” and “deception” to stress and exaggerate on how cruelly and brutally the orphanage handled the orphans. The insensitive attitude towards the orphans is shown through mental torture, when they were reminded continuously that they were orphans and that they must be always grateful to them (the caretakers), and prays for them as they have taken the place of their parents.
The orphans were even named according to alphabetical order, but abusive language like “rascal, wretched orphan”, was mainly what the general public or the caretakers used to call them, this lowered their self-esteem, they felt put down and ashamed of themselves. Mrs. Sowerberry a mean, judgmental woman who declares that “children like Oliver are born to be murderers and robbers from their cradle,” complains about orphans enjoying benefits from the state, “they always cost more to keep, then they are worth” when this is completely untrue, it is the owner of these orphans who enjoy the benefits.
The owners keep the money that the state offers for the upbringing of the orphans leave time starving for food, or give them food, which was left to rot. Oliver as a house lad to them was given neglected food, which he ate with the “ferocity of hunger”, with this we see that Oliver was starved and “clutching” at the meat his “eyes glistened and trembled with eagerness”. Dickens uses comparison in the novel. Through is language his compares the characters of “Nancy” and “Rose Maylie. ” Rose is beautiful, compassionate and forgiving young women who values life as she has got a proper upbringing.
She is often described in angelic terms by Dickens and Nancy on the other hand is by no means innocent, she is “a thief who drinks to excess” and shows she has a sense of moral decency by attempting to help Oliver. Through this she proves she has great understanding of good and evil. Nancy who was a thief, whose childhood was corrupted to steal was completely trapped in an environment of crime, even when Rose offers her an escape route Nancy declines and says that the only way out for her is “death. ” The character of Artful Dodger or rather Jack Dawkins, an orphan who was forced to turn to a life of crime in order to make a living.
Dickens portrays him as being a realistic character by not allowing him to fall into the stereotypical evil character without any good inside. Dickens realizes that there is some good and some bad in each and every person and this portrays these both in the character of Artful Dodger. “… And I know a spec table old gentle man as lives here, wot’ll give you lodgings for not think, and never ask for a change,” this line shows us the way Dickens successfully captured the boys way of talking. It shows us the respect he has for Fagin and his enthusiasm to bring another boy into the gang of thieves.
We see that Dickens also uses language to illustrate the habits of orphans who were guided by criminals such as Fagin- “seated around the table were four to five boys, more older than the Dodger, smoking long clay pipes, and drinking sprits with the air of the middle-aged men. ” This description is very effective in portraying how badly orphans are guided once left on the streets. The words “long” and “middle-aged men” are literary devices of exaggeration used by Dickens to emphasize on how miserable and unaided these orphans are.
Dickens shows how bad influence could easily overcome those orphans left on the streets on their own. Dickens with the help of his techniques gives us examples of his setting where we see Oliver’s physical suffering when he come to London. “Oliver walked twenty miles that day; and all the time tasted nothing but the crust of a dry bread and a few draughts of water… ” the character Oliver plays in the story is a reminder of all the other street children of the 19th century who were exposed to harsh treatments and severe dangers by people.
Dickens disapproves of the poor education the orphans received. He uses satire to condemn the poor education provided for the orphans- “the boy was a fool -I thought he was,” the gentlemen always made fun of Oliver because he did not know what to say to them. Lack of education adds to their misery because lack of education is also on of the reasons why orphans are mocked in society. Dickens also mocks the orphanage system at the same time for the amount of medical care received or provided to the orphans.
“I heard the doctor say to them I was dying,” -since there was no one to value them many of these orphans died at very young ages and many others suffered from many other diseases and sicknesses. Dickens also uses persuasive imagery to show the attitudes of the people in society, where we see the undertaker’s wife giving Oliver a hostile welcome by “opening the side door” and then “pushed him down a steep flight of stairs into a stone cell. ” Oliver’s opinions were never given any importance therefore proving to us that all the orphans’ opinions were just looked over and never thought off.
Also by showing to us the intensive behavior of the gentlemen of the board he shows the attitude of the society towards unwanted children. He gives us a clear picture of London society through the various characters in the novel, most of them who appear trapped through either poverty or habit, in the world of crime. Many people considered the poor and orphans as “criminals,” “filth” and “savage”. Though his language he shows the way the poor bullied and insulted each other. The gentlemen of the workhouse board called Oliver a “savage,” and the other orphans called him a “coward.
” The author reveals feelings and emotions with nature. Dickens employs figures of speech to show the kindness, respect and generosity that Oliver received from some people at very rare occasions. One of these is personified when, “loveliness and virtue watched him as he slept. ” Oliver’s contented moments arouse contentment in our minds and hearts, and a temporary feeling of satisfaction. ” The boy stirred and smiled in his sleep, as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of love and affection he had never known.
” This line tells us of Oliver’s rare opportunities of happiness and, it contrasts to the lives of other 19th century orphans. The author also uses nature as a tool to bring to life the simple joys, fears and darkness of Oliver and the other orphans. In addition to that he voices his own feelings and emotions. In the novel we see that the term “poor boy” is used time and again. This technique of repetition is arousing sympathy from the readers for “Oliver Twist” Dickens wanted the people to realize how certain members of society were ill-treated.
Exaggeration is also used to further intensive the conditions of the orphans. “He tried to murder me sir… Oh! What dreadful pain it is! Such agony, please sir! ” this is also especially evident where description of setting was concerned, where Dickens paints horrid pictures into the readers mind. The language that Dickens employs to convey the true misery of orphans relies heavily on the use of sarcasm. He often uses this technique to show to his readers the hypocrisy that existed among the people at that time when he wrote the book.
Oliver Twist is a third person narrative book in which the author comments on the progress of characters through the text. He brings to life the ill treatment the orphans received which not only destroyed the childhood of the orphans but also affected their adult lives, taking the character of “Nancy” and “Bill Sikes” into consideration; who are drawn by poverty into a world of crime where they became victims of criminal activities. Even though “Nancy” shows she has a capacity of goodness she feels she is trapped into a certain way of behavior.
The novel portraying different themes of crime, poverty, loneliness, chance, temptation and fear has left a lasting impression in my mind proving that the author has deep insight for human nature, though which I learn about innocent children’s feelings who do not get what they deserve, and are set back from achieving a promising future as he/she has no identity in society. Oliver’s character is very inspirational, his and the other orphans struggles convince me that we youngsters do have the potential of surviving even the greatest of difficulties
From the book “Oliver Twist” I realize the consequences of being an orphan and I thank God for giving me such good parents, without whom may be I wouldn’t be complete, for I wouldn’t be able to bare harsh treatments as I am not used to it. I pity those orphans in the 19th century who lived such terrible lives. It is certain that the orphans of the 21st century live in a better environment and are not ill treated by their caretakers and sum day these orphans will grow up to be someone highly regarded.
It is frightening to even think of how these orphans might grow up, what their future would end up like no one knows. After reading about these orphans I realize the importance of parents, how valuable they are in order to make our lives successful. Page -1- 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.