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Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens Essay

Oliver Twist is a novel written by Charles Dickens. The novel follows an orphan boy named Oliver through many trials and tribulations he must endure. Through this he does have a few kind, compassionate, and stable people to rely on. Two of the most important were Nancy and Rose Maylie. Within this essay I will give a detailed description of both Rose and Nancy and also compare and contrast the two.

First I would like to introduce you to Nancy. Nancy is the only female character of Fagin’s group. Being a part of this group Nancy must steal from the rich in order to make money for basic necessities and keep her relationships with the crew. This lifestyle puts he in the criminal social class or otherwise know as the lowest of the low social class. Nancy, much like Oliver, was also an orphan growing up. She acquires no formal education; therefore she can neither read nor write. Even though Nancy was not blessed with the luxury of the basic upbringing, she maintains very impressive street smarts. She displays this when bringing stolen goods to Fagin that are bundled like a baby so it is not witnessed as suspicious.

Nancy may have been a criminal but she had a great heart. She had a great relationship with all of Fagin’s boys and cared for all of them. She also cared greatly for her boyfriend Bill Sikes who, in my opinion, did not return this love. Bill was very abusive towards Nancy and seemed to threaten her on a regular basis. When confronted with the question, “Do you love me Bill?” by Nancy, he did not directly answer and proceeded to ignore the question. In the end it was also Bill who ended up murdering Nancy. Apparently, Bill Sikes thought Nancy telling Mr. Brownlow and Rose where to find Oliver was punishable by death. By following through with the action of “peaching”, Nancy shows how much she truly cares about Oliver.

Another major character in Oliver’s life was Rose Maylie. Rose Maylie was a ward of Mr. Brownlow, therefore also making her an orphan. Mr. Brownlow was an Upper Middle Class man, which made Rose and Upper Middle Class “Victorian woman.” She, like many others from her social class, was well educated. She even was very talented at playing the piano. Mr. Brownlow’s grandson, Edward, wanted to marry Rose.

Rose, seeing that Edward’s thinking was wrong, expressed to him how against the idea she was; something very uncommon for that day in age. Oliver was brought into the home by Mr. Brownlow after Oliver was wrongfully accused of pick pocketing him. While Oliver is changing into clean, more appropriate clothing, Rose notices scars on Oliver’s back due to beatings. From then on Rose feel obligated to protect poor Oliver. She becomes somewhat of a sister figure to him. Throughout the novel Rose protects and defends Oliver.

As you can see Nancy and Rose are different in many ways. However, both women do have a few things in common. Rose and Nancy both had very different social classes.


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