In the novel “Oliver Twist” we can read about the shocking destiny of Oliver Twist, a poor boy who lost his mother during birth. Through a realistic display we can see his miserable life in the orphanage and later on in the streets. The novel deals with a social problem, better said the growing parentless children in London. Dickens tried to show the life of poor children through Oliver Twist and also accuse the 19th-century society of inhumanity and hypocrisy.
Time: 19th century
Place: London and its suburbs
Further away from London a women gave birth to a child and died. Considering the fact that nobody knew a thing about his origin the child got a name and a surname depending on the alphabetical order the children were signed in when they were born. That’s how this child got the name Oliver Twist.
The little kids in this institution were growing up in poverty and misery. The small resources that the institution had were running out because some of the employees were stealing them. Also, the employees used to hit the children and that just increased their misery.
The highest role in the orphanage was played by Mister Bumble, the municipal clerk and the administrator who was in charge for financing and feeding of the children.
Oliver Twist asked for more porridge once, because he was really hungry, but got beat up at the end. According to the staff, his behavior was rude and that they need to get rid of him as soon as possible. They sent him to a chimneysweeper so he could learn how to do what he does but he treated him so bad that Oliver was sent back to the orphanage.
After that he came to work for a mortician, Mister Sowerberry. Oliver was a sensitive and pretty boy and he helped the mortician earn a lot by walking next to the childrens coffins. Even though he earned him a lot of money the mortician treated him badly. Oliver slept between the coffins and he would eat only when the dog had some leftovers. Despite the fact that he lived badly with no privileges in life Noa Claypole, the morticians helper and Charlotte, his girlfriend, were jealous of him. The biggest terror over Oliver was done by the landlady. Desperate Oliver attacked the stronger Claypole but he screamed so hard that Oliver was hitting him hard and wants to kill him that Oliver got beat up again.
Oliver decided to put an end to this unbearable situation. He said goodbye to Dick, his dear friend that was ill and dying, and decided to find happiness somewhere else.
Along the way he met a boy named Jack Dawkins. He was using the nickname Artful Dodger. He was a bit weird and rude but Oliver became his friend. Jack took him to the rusty part of London that was filled with thieves, drunkards and wanderers. Oliver met there another weird friend, an old Jewish named Fagin.
Fagin owned a real gang made of grown up criminals, but also little boys. They steal everything that they can and they are no strangers to murders. Artful Dodger alongside a thieve named Charles Bates steals in the city. The two of them bring Fagin uppermost of the stolen goods that he sells to other people. Soon he starts to teach Oliver how to steal.
Oliver does not understand that stealing is something bad and sees all of it as a fun game. During a theft the police catches Oliver, even though he did nothing wrong, and brings him to court. He was accused of pickpocketing.
In court he meets Mister Brownlowa and he saves Oliverfrom jail. Oliver lived with him for a while and those were the most beautiful days of his life.
But Olivers enthusiasm and happiness wears out eventually. Fagin kidnaps the boy with his gang and decides to bring him back to criminal. They did it because a criminal named William Sikes needed a tiny boy to crawl up a window and open the door of the house he wanted to rob. The gang gets help from Nany, Sikes girlfriend. She sees that Oliver was not made to do this.
Sikes had no mercy. He treated Oliver on the worse possible way and threatened to kill him if he refuses to help him with the robbery. Oliver was forced to do it but the robbery turn out to be a fail at the end. Sikes ran away and left injured Oliver to save himself.
Then Monks comes to the story and he is very mysterious and wants to find Oliver.
Oliver did not know that the robbed house belonged to Maylie and Rose, her adopted daughter and Olivers aunt. Rose was the sister of his deceased mother. There is another link. Mister Brownlow was a friend of Roses father.
The two ladies decide to help Oliver and they take care of him after the injury and also prevent him from going to the court again. The boy has special feelings for Rose that even he couldn’t explain.
While he was getting better, he met Monks who was constantly following him. In the meantime, Mister Bumble became the manager of the orphanage and Monks visits him in order to find evidence. Monks found out at Mister Bumble that Oliver was his stepbrother. All of that happened thanks to the medallion that was stolen from Olivers mother when she died.
Sikes hid well after the robbery and his girlfriend Nancy was helping him. Nany found out why Oliver was so important to everybody. Monks payed Fagin to make Oliver a thieve so that he would end up in jail and never receive the fortune his father left him in his will. The inheritance would then belong to Monks because the two of them shared the same father.
Nancy tells everything to Rose. Fagin finds out what Nancy did and when Sikes hears about it he kills Nancy.
Sikes escapes then. He ran from the police in the company of his dog. Rose was co-operating with Mister Brownlow and he reveals Monks and everything about him. The two of them manage to find a compromise. Monks had to promise that he would not search for Oliver anymore and Brownlow promised not to turn him in.
The police chased Sikes and he died at the end while Fagin and his gang were arrested. The authorities decided to hang Fagin. Mister Bumble stopped being the manager of the orphanage and became a member of it when he ended up homeless.
Miter Brownlow adopted Oliver who then lived a happy and honest life. Olivers brother Monks moved far away.
Characters: Oliver Twist, chimneysweeper Gamfield, Artful Dodger, Noa Claypole, Bumble, Fagin, Monks, Mister Brownlow, Maylie and Rose, Sikes, Nancy
Charles Dickens Biography
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was born in Portsmouth, England. He is one of the most popular writers in the history of literature.
Dickens was pulled from school at a young age when his father was put in prison for debts. He was forced to take a job in a blacking warehouse, which influenced his writing later in life. When his father left prison, Dickens returned to school but was mostly self-taught.
After finishing school, he became a legal clerk then went on to work as a reporter in the courts and parliament. In 1833 he began to publish humorous descriptive sketches of daily life in London under the pseudonym, Boz. The series of articles, accompanied by artistic sketches became very popular and led to his publication of “The Pickwick Papers”.
It also led to a new way of writing in London; the serial story. Dickens maintained his fame with a series of popular novels, editing magazines, and charitable work pressing for social reforms. He also managed a theatrical company who performed for Queen Victoria and did public readings of his works.
But, success in business did not mean success in his home life. After an affair with a young actress and citing incompatibility with his wife, they separated in 1858 even though the marriage had produced 10 children. He suffered a fatal stroke on June 9, 1870, and was buried in Westminster Abbey five days later.
Book reports from Charles Dickens
- A Christmas Carol
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Bleak House
- David Copperfield
- Great Expectations
- Hard Times
- Oliver Twist