Charles Dickens was taken out of school in London as a result of his family poverty, he was then put to work in a filthy warehouse where he had to stick labels on bottles of boot black. He returned to school for a short time, but he couldn’t bare to take about his experience. Many of his ideas about social conscience probably stem from this episode in his life. Charles dickens was born into times which saw great changes in people’s lifestyles. There were the effects of industrialisation, and the French revolution.
Oliver twist was not published in one novel, but in episodes of monthly installments in a magazine called Bentley’s Miscellany. One of Charles Dickens main themes in Oliver Twist is childhood; a way he describes childhood is by using irony and sarcasm to get his point across. The key incidents that show childhood are in the first three chapters of the novel so those are the chapters which I will be focusing on for this essay. Some of the areas I will write about are Oliver’s mistreatment from birth, how Oliver and other children are mistreated by Mrs.
Mann, Oliver in the work house and how Dickens uses didactic moralising. Oliver was born into poverty; Dickens traces the subsequent course of his life. The novel opens in a workhouse at Oliver’s birth- Dickens shows right from the start the uncaring attitudes of the authorities to the poor in general, for example Oliver survives by luck not because of the care he receives. Oliver’s mother would have been seen as an outcast, because she was not marries, and this may be a reason she was given such bad care. Although as the surgeons reference to ‘the cold story’ suggest, they were not uncommon.
Treatment of young children at the hands of Mrs. Mann: she finds them a nuisance and regularly allows all the children in her car to starve to death or die in ‘accidents’. We see many examples of mistreatment of children while Oliver is the care of Mrs. Mann. One of the greater ones is where Mr. Bumble comes to Oliver’s foster home without giving notice, and Mrs. Mann sees him trying to open the gate and shouts to Susan(another career) “Susan, take Oliver and them two brats upstairs and wash them directly”. This is important because is shows us (the reader) that Mr.
Bumble , Oliver’s social worker, doesn’t know the children and Oliver are being mistreated to the level they were, as Mrs. Mann and Susan most likely did this every time Mr. bumble was coming and pretended that they were doing a good job to keep their own jobs. Additionally there is that famous scene where Oliver asks or more- shows us how desperate the children were to get enough food i. e. Oliver asks for more despite knowing the terrible consequences. Dickens is pointing out that Oliver wouldn’t of had to ask if he had been properly looked after.
“Please, sir, I want some more” page 13. This causes an uproar amongst the adults, one of which says he is sure that Oliver will come to be hanged. Oliver is locked up and a notice posted on the workhouse gate, offering a five pound reward to anyone who will take Oliver as an apprentice. Dickens is not only trying to show the starvation of Oliver and the workers but how unreasonable the ‘cares’ were. Saying to hang Oliver a young boy just for asking for some more food. Charles dickens uses slang in Oliver Twist.
Dickens had a very good ear for different forms of speech. Oliver Twist is full of slang from the criminal underworld, which dickens researched carefully. Dickens also uses a few characternyms in Oliver Twist, for example Mrs. Mann sounds like she would be as very harsh ‘manly’ woman, and she isn’t very motherly. Dickens uses didactic moralizing to educate the readers about the workhouses and poor children, as most of the readers were mainly upper class. Dickens may want to have one this because of his own childhood was in a way quite similar to Oliver twists.
When dickens wrote Oliver twist he had become quite a wealthy man, who might have mixed with other wealthy people who might not have known about the poor children and people situation and how they were treated differently form the rich and what they had to do to survive. Charles dickens uses the novel to educate the reader, turning the novel into social history-because this sort of this did happen. In conclusion Oliver has experienced cruelty though out his childhood, from birth, living with Mrs. Mann, his years in the workhouse (ill treatment at the hands of authorities).
Dickens is trying to show us in this novel about how bad the situation of poor workhouse children was, and trying to educate the readers about what was going on at that time. Possible to try and make a difference so people could stop child slave labour, so people like him and Oliver wouldn’t have to go though it anymore. Tara Pitten Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Oliver Twist section.