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Charles Dickens was born on Friday 7th February 1812 at Portsmouth. His father John Dickens continually living beyond his means and then was finally imprisoned in 1824. 12 year old Charles was removed from school and sent to work in a factory the most terrible period of his life, this child hood poverty and adversity influenced dickens later views on social reform in a country in the throes of the industrial revolution. In the Victorian age queen Victoria was on the throne and reigned over an empire, we were seen as very strong and powerful.
All the British people became very arrogant and we thought we were more superior to the rest of the world. In the workhouse north of London a young woman who has arrived in an exhausted conditions gives birth to a boy, and dies. Looked after over by the ill-natured Mrs Corney. Mr bumble, transfers him aged nine to the workhouse itself and he is set to work picking oakum. When Oliver causes some trouble by asking for some more food the authorities decide to put Oliver into the trade.
He becomes apprenticed to Sowerberry, an undertaker. Another apprentice Noah Claypole insults Oliver’s dead mother, Oliver attacks him and is cruelly punished by the Sowerberrys. He runs away to London, and in Barnet he meets with a boy thief, Jack Dawkins, “The Artful Dodger”, a member of a pickpocket gang run by Fagin, a Jew. Oliver is horrified to see them pick pocket of an old gentleman, Mr Brownlow, at a book stall, runs away, and is captured and taken before a magistrates but the bookstall keeper has seen the true robbers.
Oliver is taken to MR Brownlow’s house in Pentonville, where the housekeeper, Mrs Bedwin, nurses him through an illness. He is treated with kindness and affection for the first time in his life and is delighted. But Fagin plots to recapture him. He engages Bill Sikes, a brutal robber, and Nancy, his mistress, also a member of the gang, to bring Oliver back. Sikes takes Oliver by night to Chertsey to carry out a robbery on the house of a Mrs Maylie. When the alarm is given Sikes takes fright and escapes, and Oliver is shot and wounded.
Mrs Maylie and her adopted niece, Rose, takes him in, and he settles with them, becoming a house hold favourite. Rose gets a serious illness. Mrs Maylies son, Harry arrives on her recovery and begs her to marry him. She refuses. During his good life with the maylies, Oliver catches glimpses of MONKS a sinister man who works with Fagin to try and recapture him. Nancy tells rose about Fagin’s and Monks conspiracy. Sikes, maddened by Nancy’s supposed treachery, rushes back to his own room, awakens her from sleep and clubs her to death.
A police raid in which Fagin was arrested. Sikes attempts to escape across the roofs but falls and dies. Oliver returns to Mr Brownlow. Monks, otherwise Edward Leeford, is Oliver’s half brother. The provisions of fathers will leave money to Oliver on conditions that he maintains a spotless reputations, and for this reasons Monks has tried to keep the boy in Fagin’s gang in order to discredit him. Mr Brownlow then adopts Oliver. The structure of “Oliver Twist” is full of highs and lows because of the sequence of cliffhangers.
The structure of the novel makes it more intriguing when Charles Dickens wrote “Oliver Twist” They were published in instalments, the effect of this made the novel more compelling and made the reader crave for more. The instalments lead to recaps to tie in the events, and the chapter titles worked as a summary of what was going to materialize in each chapter. Dickens narrative technique is known as the third person. The third person uses a narrator who watches over events, this helps Dickens to deepen the emotions for Oliver because he can describe everything that happens to him.
London was seen as the place for work, money and dreams. But there was also a considerable high amount of poverty and hardship, Oliver’s grievance began in the workhouse and later having to thieve for Fagin in return for shelter and food. Crime doesn’t pay, but crime was quite common because of the amount of adversity. Good triumphs over evil, Fagin, Bill Sikes and Monks are immoral and corrupt. Mr Brownlow Rose Maylie and Nancy were the trustworthy honest citizens.
The moral of the the novel shows Fagin being tried and executed for his crimes, Bill Sikes was hunted down and he hung him self trying to escape from the law. Monks confessed to trying to discredit Oliver and has to sign over Oliver’s inheritance. This proves that crime doesn’t pay! The London setting in “Oliver Twist” has distinct wealthy and deprived areas. “Kennels over flowing,” the noise of traffic increasing as you get nearer to the heart and the roads nearly ankle deep with “filth and mire,” are just some of the problems facing the poorer, “slum” districts of Dickens’ London.
London is very important in the novel because Dickens uses the every day reality he witnessed to make a social comment about the rich and the poor areas. London is also viewed as a big adventure to the young Oliver and yet in London’s criminal world, dirty deeds take place in the dark, gloomy, dismal surroundings that Dickens describes and it is here in this place of “dirty squalor” that where all the bad behaviour fits. London is the key, which changes Oliver. His dark and bleak emotions match the locations and this is because of the grim surroundings.
“The cold, wet shelter less midnight streets of London” is meant to make the reader feel depressed and sorry for Oliver and show you the reality of London. As Dickens saw it. The historical and cultural text of the novel tells the reader about the “miserable reality. ” Dickens knew that many of his readers had a lack of sense of humour you can tell this by the way Dickens wrote because he included scenes of reality rather than humorous clips. Original readers would of reacted strongly to the setting and some found the descriptions unpleasant and too detailed.
The links between crime and poverty are that in many cases people have to steel to live. Dickens showed the injustice between the wealthy and the poor, and how the poor were badly treated and living in “slum housing” Dickens also responded to this by saying that crime really does exists such as Jack Dawkins, Fagin, and Bill Sikes should be painted in all their wretchedness, in all their deformity and in all their squalid misery of their lives, to show them as they really are, for ever skulking uneasily through the dirtiest paths of life.
When Oliver was young he lived in a workhouse, it was an extremely appalling and uncompromising place. The staff that ran the institute were ruthless, threatening and harsh. They treated the inmates badly and inadequately. They worked long hours, with little poor quality food. The staffs were more often than not corrupt eating and drinking luxuriously whilst the inmates starve.