For my English coursework, I will be focusing on the character of Nancy in Oliver Twist. The story of Oliver Twist is about an orphan called, Oliver who was born in the workhouse. He grew up their with other children and they ate gruel every single day. One day, Oliver went to the chef and asked for more gruel, which led him to big trouble. A couple of days later, Oliver was sold to, the Undertakers, people who sold coffins. Oliver ran away from them and was found by two thugs on the streets, named Jack Dawkins the “artful dodger” and Charlie.
They took Oliver to a large house owned by two criminals, Fagin and Bill Sikes. They introduced Oliver into a life of crime. Oliver met a lot of people during his stay, including a young prostitute named, Nancy. Nancy looked after Oliver in Fagin’s house. People were treated like, “dogs” in the workhouse. They were treated like poor people (even though they were). The poor had to work hard in the drenching atmosphere. They were treated cruelly and were shown no respect, whatsoever. People were probably being picked on and chucked around like some, “bunch of potatoes”.
It was not easy for the poor, because they had to struggle with those conditions, but they did have to get the money, for them and their family. In the Victorian times, it was very unfair to the poor. A law was passed on, saying that if you could not provide food for you and your family, you would have to go to the workhouse to earn the money. Charles Dickens has seen how the poor were treated when his father got into debt and he wanted the rich people to understand what it was like and how so many poor people became involved in crime.
I think at first, Victorians treated Nancy as a dirty prostitute and a thief. They would have thought that she was a beggar and a woman who is desperately in need of money, but Oliver does not think of her like that, he respects her, treats her as his own blood and he also thinks that she is a heart-warming and caring person. It says in this quote, “Nancy wore a good deal of hair, not very neatly turned up behind and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. She was not exactly pretty, perhaps; but she had a great deal of colour in her face, and looked quite stout and hearty.
Being remarkably free and agreeable in her manners, Oliver thought she was a very nice girl indeed”. Nancy is a paradoxical character. When Oliver is living with Fagin, Nancy looks after the young boy a lot. She cares for him and keeps him out of harms way. She shows him respect and he shows some back. She cares for Oliver, because she does not want him to go to the, “dark side” and enter a life of crime. Nancy and Oliver have grown a strong bond between each other and Nancy treats the orphan as her younger brother. At her young age, Nancy who was like Oliver was an orphan.
She was found by, Bill Sikes and Fagin. They took her in and introduced her to a life of crime. She was great at it and loved doing the job. In the quote it says, “Fagin, who had led her, step by step, deeper and deeper down into an abyss of crime and misery, whence was no escape”. This shows that Nancy was brought up by Fagin and was taught bad things. When Nancy was growing up, she was starting to fall for Bill, this is because he was the only person who looked after her properly and let no danger come to her. She fell in love with him, but drastic things happen at the end, involving those two…
Nancy is a prostitute, because she had no life, her life was over she just wanted to make the money and all she thought about was herself, until Oliver came along. Nancy is a paradoxical character, this means that she is a prostitute and also she is caring. The time that Nancy arrives at Mr Brownlow’s home, she is treated like a guest. She is treated acceptably and nicely. Nancy cries because she has never been treated, fairly and nicely and she is so shocked that the rich are even talking to her, because most other people, who are rich, would just ignore her completely. This has completely touched Nancy’s heart and she is so grateful.
Here is a quote showing this, “the kind tone of this answer, the sweet voice, the gentle manner, the absence of any accent of haughtiness or displeasure, took the girl completely by surprise, and she burst into tears”. The rich people have treated her fairly, like any other ordinary human being. They have nothing against her and they have treated her superbly and sensibly. Usually rich people just ignore the poor and have no respect for them whatsoever. I think it is right that the rich people should treat the poor people the same, because they are same species, they are human beings; they all have feelings and emotions.