Charles Dickens “The boys whispered to each other and winked at Oliver (…) child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from, the table and advancing to the master, basin and a spoon in hand, said – Please sir, I want some more” This is a quote from the famous novel Oliver Twist by the English author Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens grew up in the Victorian age, and was highly affected by the way the social environment worked at the time. He usually wrote about the development of the contemporary society and the way it influenced children.
His novels were especially characterized by the way he was capable of depicting his characters and the Victorian society. The Victorian society was primarily characterized by the industrialization but also by an unbelievable social misery. Innovative factories in the cities required a workforce and very often it was the kids who suffered and had to work in the factories. Charles Dickens was a rebellious author, and he was known for expressing himself just the way he wanted to.
His novel about Oliver Twist is therefore, a realistic reproduction of the social conditions of the Victorian age. It was written as a protest against the inhuman way children were treated in the Victorian age. The main character in the text is of course Oliver Twist. Oliver is primarily described through his actions and thoughts in contrary to some of the other characters in the novel. Charles Dickens is especially known for describing his characters in a very detailed way and Oliver Twist is of course no exception.
One of the parts in the novel which is very important is the part where Oliver’s braveness really shines through; “Oliver had borne the lash without a cry: for he felt that pride swelling in his heart which would have kept down a shriek to the last, though they had roasted him alive” Another part in the novel that seems important is the part where Oliver meets his old friend and playmate; Dick. This part shows us that even though Oliver has had a tough time, he is still capable of caring about his friends.
For the first time he is able to stand up for himself and protect other people, and that seems very important to him – besides that it also describes Charles Dickens way of telling a bit about Oliver’s future life; “I shall see you again Dick, I know I shall (…) Good-bye, dear! God bless you! ” The blessing was from a young child’s lips, but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head; and through all the struggles and sufferings and troubles and changes, of his after life, he never once forgot it”
Oliver was treated very badly by a lot of the characters in the novel, and one of the characters that are most interesting is Mrs. Mann. The reason that she is an interesting character is because she acts in an untrusting way to prove that she is a trustworthy person – when she really is not. The part in the novel that describes this the best is the part where Mr. Bumble visits her; “’The child that was half baptized Oliver Twist is nine year old to-day ‘ Bless him! ’ interposed Mrs. Mann, inflaming her left eye with the corner of her apron’”.
Mrs. Mann is primarily described by the way she acts and not by her thoughts. Charles Dickens has done this on purpose, because Mrs. Mann is an “evil” character whose thoughts we don’t necessarily need to hear anything about. The quotation above shows us that Mrs. Mann is a fake person because she tries to make herself look like she is crying, by inflaming her left eye with the corner of her apron. By this quotation we can conclude that Charles Dickens proves that Mrs. Mann isn’t a trustworthy person, by describing her “evil” actions.
Charles Dickens way of writing, can be compared with the Danish writer Henrik Pontoppidan. Even though Charles Dickens was born before Henrik Pontoppidan, they are both capable of writing in a provocative way. They are known for bringing up problems for discussion, which in this case is the inhuman way of treating kids in the Victorian age. But further more they are also both able to criticize the way the society in their time was build, and the characteristics of the time that they are portraying.