Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth on the 7th February 1812. He was the second child of a family. His grandparents were a butler and a housekeeper. His father was a clerk and was forced to move with his family to London. He had to attend a private school in Kent. By the age of 12 he had to work in a blacking factory where he spent 10 hours a day sticking labels on pots. His first job was a Lawyers’ clerk. In 1837 he wrote his first novel ‘The Pickwick Papers’ after he had worked as a journalist. In February 1937, he began to write Oliver Twist, and had finished it by April 1839.
He wrote it in little sections for a newspaper which published in different parts each month. He eventually wrote 15 major novels. He used his books to try and campaign for causes such as to get rid of the 1834 Poor Law and anti-slave labour. Dicken’s meaning of Oliver Twist was to portray a battle between good(the poor) and the evil(the rich people, like the Board). A ‘Baby Farm’ was a children’s orphanage for the poor which used the children as workers. The term ‘Baby Farm’ almost suggests that the babies of the ‘farm’ aren’t even human beings.
If a child from the ‘Baby Farm’ dies no one cares. Oliver has nothing, his mother’s dead and he doesn’t even know what his real name is (apart from his Grandfather who he finds at the end of the story). Mrs. Mann comes across as being very unfair and mean to the children. This is because she forces them to do a lot of work, takes the money that they should get (7 pence each), Mrs. Mann wanted to get more money from Oliver. She also gives them hardly any food or water and also beats them if they don’t work to the standard that she sets. However when Mr.
Bumble is around she acts very friendly to the children and to him simply because she’s afraid of what Mr. Bumble will do if he found out how she was treating the children of the ‘Baby Farm’. The strange thing is that she respects Mr. Bumble a lot, “Walk in sir…. Mr. Bumble do sir. ” Mrs. Mann is very deceptive because she’ll be acting very friendly and happy towards the children but then as soon as Mr. Bumble has left she will start acting very cruelly towards them by shouting at them, calling them names such as “Brats” and then hitting them.
Oliver in the novel gets very confused by her change in behaviour. To prevent the children from escaping she locks the gates to the room in which they are kept in. By the time Oliver was 9 he was crying about having to leave, he is described as being pale, thin with a diminutive stature and a small circumference. Charles Dickens uses the whole idea of the ‘Baby Farm’ and how Oliver is treated to make the readers feel sorry for Oliver, he also makes you feel sorry for Oliver by talking directly to the reader.