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Commentary on Oliver Twist Essay


Oliver Twist Essay

Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens, was an instant classic, winning the hearts of thousands with its heart wrenching story about a lost boy, trying to find his way back to life. The storys beloved characters such as Oliver, not only do his actions portray his personalities, his actions seem to be destined, as if fate has a role in the story. As the story begins its life and reaches its death, Oliver tends to have a change in fate when hes with Mr. Bumble, Fagin and Miss Maylie.

Ever since Oliver entered the world, Mr. Bumble, the church house beadle has had an incredible influence in his life, bad or good, yet, there have been some instances where fate has taken over free will, positively impacting Oliver. For example, in chapter three, Oliver had been offered up to Mr. Gamfield, the local chimney sweep for a reward of 5 pounds. As they entered, they saw, Two old gentlemen with powdered heads (Dickens, Pg. 43). It was the critical moment of Olivers fate. If the inkstand had been where the old gentleman thought it was, he would have dipped his pen into it, and signed the document but as it chanced to be immediately under his nose. As he searched all over his desk for it, he caught a glimpse of Olivers face, which was pale and terrified. When the old man asks him, You look pale and alarmed. What is the matter? (Dickens, Pg. 45), Oliver drops to his knees, and clasping his hands together, prayed that they would order him back to the dark room, starve him, beat him, kill him if they pleased rather than sending him with Mr. Gamfield. Mr. Gamfields claim is cancelled immediately. If it was not for that stroke of luck, Oliver, would have been hurried off immediately to Mr. Gamfileds home, where he would be forced to preform constant manual labour, in order to receive basic necessities. Another example would be in chapter four, when the reader is first introduced to Mr. Sowerberry. After the parish authorities failed attempt to get rid of Oliver, they all decide the best thing to do is send him off to sea, where the best thing that could possibly be done with him is, The probability that that the skipper would flog him to death, in a playful mood, someday after dinner, or would knock his brains out with an iron bar (Dickens, Pg. 47). At the end of their meeting, Mr. Bumble was despatched to make various preliminary inquiries, with the view of finding out some captain or other who wanted a cabin-boy. When he got to the front gates, he met up with Mr. Sowerberry. Mr. Sowerberry was a tall, gaunt, large-jointed man, attired in a suit of threadbare black, with darned cotton stockings of the same colour, and shoes to answer. He was a gentle man who worked hard in his trade as a parochial undertaker. After the two cordially shook hands and spoke, as if by chance, Mr. Sowerberry says, I was thinkingthat if I pay so much towards em, Ive a right to ge as much out of em as I can, Mr. Bumble; and so-and so-I think Ill take the boy myself (Dickens, Pg.50). It must be fate or a very lucky coincidence, because Mr. Bumble was on his way to make a deal with a ship captain, who would most likely kill Oliver, which was also in the interest of the parish authorities, when he suddenly stumbled upon Mr. Sowerberry, someone of a total opposite persona in life, who wanted the boy himself.

When Oliver entered London, Fagin had given him lodging, food and lessons on thievery but if it were not for fate or destiny in some situations, Oliver would have most likely turned to a life of pickpocketing. For example, when Charley, Dodger and Oliver went to go pickpocketing one morning, an old man mistaken Oliver as one of the thieves, screaming, Stop Thief (Dickens, 97), and he and a crowd of angry chased him through then streets. The old man was Mr. Brownlow and he was good friends with Olivers dad. If it werent for that incident, Oliver would have never met Mr. Brownlow. Mr. Brownlow was an old gentleman who lived a calm and happy life. Almost as if it were fate, rather than Charley or Dodger, he accused Oliver as being a thief. A second example would be in chapter 21, where Oliver is forced to help commit a house raid with Toby Crackit and Bill Sikes. Oliver didnt want to do it and he cried, Oh! For Gods sake, let me go (Dickens, 203), but it was no use. When he snuck through the window, his task was to go upstairs to unlock the front door, but Oliver wanted to wake up the residents there. Out of desperation, he dropped his lantern and began to cry. As they hear somebody coming, Bill Sikes says, Come Back! Back! Back! (Dickens, Pg.205). After gun shots had been fired, Oliver was hit, and felt almost as if he were, Half dead (Dickens, Pg. 205). Bill Sikes pulls Oliver out and the three start to run. Figuring Oliver would be dead anyways, he throws Oliver in a ditch, and he continues running. This situation, unlike the other examples, takes almost a deadly toll on Oliver. What happens after this situation is what fate was actually intending. When Oliver wakes up, has lost a lot of blood and with no other direction of salvation within his reach, he walks up to the house they tried to raid, rings the door bell, and then faints from blood loss. The owner of the home was Mrs. Maylie, a lady of class and generosity. When they see the boy, one of the servants recognizes him as one of the murderers, but Miss Rose, one of the servants, is quick to retaliate, saying, Think how young he is; think that he may never have known a mothers love or the comfort of home, that ill-usage and blows, or the want of bread, may have driven him to herd with men who have forced him on guilt (Dickens, Pg. 263). She read him exactly and he never had to say a word. She presented Mrs. Maylie exactly what Oliver has gone through ever since birth. After some thinking, and hearing his story after he wakes up, Mrs. Maylie decided to keep and take care of him. Out of all the people hes stayed with, Mrs. Maylie takes the crown, because, he is allowed to eat as much as he could and, unlike the other places, he does not have to do manual labour to earn it.

Mrs. Maylie is a kind, wealthy elderly woman, who rescues Oliver from death, and adopts him, allowing him to have his first true family, but as fate brought them together, actions based on fate continue to take place as the book progresses. For example, in chapter 40, Nancy decides to tell Rose about everything that has gone on between Monks and Fagin, saying, He is an earnest man when his hatred is up (Dickens, Pg. 359). When Bill Sikes finds out, without a thought in his mind, he goes to Nancy and butchers her by beating her with a mallet constantly. Later on in the book, the authorities are looking for Bill Sikes. As an angry mob determined to kill him surrounds his safe house, he climbs on to the roof, knowing, his only way of escaping would be to jump into the passing current behind the house. He takes a loop and pulls his over his head, but before he could pull it lower he slips and falls of the roof, hanging himself. This was a prime example of the term, What goes around, comes around. Just as he brutally murdered Nancy, his death was almost as brutal. Fate surely played a role in this scene because, after everything hes done, there are consequences that must be taken into.

The book, Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens, contains examples of what the characters are destined to receive, within the context, and out. As the story develops, the protagonist, Oliver, constantly has fate by his side creating both situations of joy and pain. Mr. Bumble, Fagin and Mrs. Maylie are all considered catalysts, where they trigger fate to change situations for Oliver, rather than leaving it to free will.

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