Charles Dickens & Victorian Society

As the narrator, Charles Dickens disagrees with her treatment of the children and describes it with irony as very wise and good. When he described how she took all of their money for herself, he wrote, “The elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for children; and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself. ” (p4). Dickens is also ironic when he describes Oliver’s punishment. He talks as if Oliver thoroughly deserved it.

“… had been locked up therein for atrociously presuming to be hungry. ” (p5).

This evidence make the reader strongly dislike Mrs.Mann as Dickens exposes the cruel treatment she gives the children in her care. They would be shocked that people could do that to children. Mr. Bumble came to Mrs. Mann’s house one day and told her that as Oliver was nine, he would have to be taken to the main workhouse. ” ‘Oliver being now too old to remain here, the board have determined to have him back into the house.

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‘ ” (p7-8). The workhouse doesn’t treat the poor people well at all. They aren’t fed properly, “They contracted [… ] with a corn-factor to supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal and issued three meals of thin gruel a day.” (p10).

There was no heating, uncomfortable beds and they had to work all day for no pay. Families were also forced to be split up, and husbands and wives divorced so the husband couldn’t support the family.

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“kindly undertook to divorce married people. ” (p11). Dickens is being ironic again in this sentence. Oliver asks for more food because they aren’t given enough and he is desperate.

He is also scared because a tall boy said if he didn’t get another bowl of gruel a day, he would eat the boy who slept next to him, and Oliver and the others believed him because they are only children.”at last, they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that one by: who was tall for his age, [… ] hinted darkly to his companions, that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next to him” (p11-12).

He was very scared to ask for more, but he was so hungry, he did it. “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. [… ] said: some what alarmed at his own temerity: ‘Please, sir, I want some more. ‘ ” (p12). Oliver wouldn’t have been desperate enough to ask if he had been treated properly.

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Charles Dickens & Victorian Society. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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