Making close reference to 2 or 3 episodes from the novel, discuss how Charles dickens presents the life of children in Oliver twist
Oliver twist was written by Charles dickens in 1837. The novel is about orphans and poor families and how they lived difficult lives at that time. In my essay Im going to discuss how dickens presents the life of children in the 19th century. Charles dickens was interested in the life of poor, orphans because he had to go through a similar situation when he was child and he also had a hard childhood. When he was a little child his father was in prison and at the age of 12 Dickens worked in a factory where he worked in a blacking factory labeling bottles. So Oliver twist is linked to Charles dickens childhood and the way he lived back then because even dickens had 2 work as child so he wanted people to know what he went through and his experience.
The story is about a 9 year old boy called Oliver twist who was an orphan. Oliver had nobody when his mum died; the novel shows that poor children had a tough time in the 19 century because they were put into workhouses and they were treated badly and had a miserable life due to no one caring about them. Unmarried women at that time faced a lot of problems thats why most of them choose to go to the workhouse in the first place.
Workhouses were built so it would solve the problem of poverty as many rich people believed that people were poor because they were lazy. People such as: very old, very young, the sick, unmarried mothers and insane and those that were unable to look after themselves and also those who had no work.
As these people arrived they were washed and all their belongings were taken away and they were given a uniform workhouse to wear. The boys slept in one big hall on the floor.
Many people died in the work house as a result of the lack of nutrition. Food in the workhouse was kept tasteless as possible and it mainly consisted of gruel.
Dickens shows that orphans were giving very little food in the workhouses. He described how the boys polished the bowls with their spoons till they shone he is being ironic because it sounds as though the boys are cleaning the bowls when in fact they area scraping up the gruel as they are so hungry.
The main themes of the novel are poverty, good vs. evil, love hatred and crime. He also writes in the third person throughout the novel and by doing that he is able to highlight Olivers purity and innocence while also exposing the brutality of the others.
the boys polished the bowls with their spoons till they shone again
This shows that the boys were hungry because the plates never needed washing and starved because they were given little nourishment Dickens uses of emotive language tries to make the reader feel sorry for the boys and especially for Oliver.
When Oliver asked for more food because he was dared to, he seemed very unthankful to the staff therefore they wanted to sell him for five pounds to who whoever wishes to take him.
Oliver spent the first nine years of his life in the countryside. After he left the workhouse, Oliver moved out with the undertaker called Mr. Sawerberry.
Mr. Sawerberrys wife didnt care about Oliver or where he slept. The poor little guy had to sleep in a coffin. Your beds under the counter you dont mind sleeping among the coffins, I suppose? Mrs. Sawerberry said that when she was showing Oliver where to sleep which shows shes being sarcastic because he has no choice and he has to sleep in that dark room.
Oliver finally escaped to London when he had an argument with Noah, who called his mum names. On arriving in London he meets the artful dodger who toke him to meet Fagin. Fagin was a criminal who trained homeless children to pick pockets. Dickens describes him as a villainous looking which makes his first impression to the readers negative as he seems as an evil person and a villain.
In conclusion, the book also shows positive things about how rich people cared about children and orphans like Mr. Brownlow who at the end turns to be Olivers uncle. He kindly treated Oliver and took him to his house even though he blamed him for stealing.
However, Fagin and Bill Sykes werent very pleased about Oliver moving there because they were worried that he might tell Mr. Brownlow about their plans and what they did. So they planned to kidnap him with some help from Nancy who was against taking part of their plan. Nancy before she got killed by bill who she loved, she went to Mr. Brownlows house and told him about bill Sykess plan and told him to meet her at mid night at the London bridge.
Dickens wants the reader to sympathise with Nancy as we learn about her background and that she hasnt chosen this type f life to herself. But she had no choice as a child.
Finally, Dickens presented the life of children in those days as hard and not fun at all because they didnt have time to play as little kids and they didnt have an enjoyable childhood since all they did is work so they can survive and the link between poverty and crime as well as the class divide in the Victorian times. In addition, Charles Dickens shows how good victory is as he presents the happy ending when Sykes and Fagin came to a sticky end as one of them was hang and the other one was imprisoned and on the other hand Mr. bumble ended up working in his own house.