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  1. Ms.Soft's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    Oliver Twist .. please help me...

    Hi there,

    I am studying English Literature and the professor gave us an essay question about the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens..

    please help me to correct my essay...

    the question :

    choose two scenes in Oliver Twist and relate them to each other according to the devices that Dickens chooses to reveal the situation at his time..

    Poverty, poor laws and poor conditions are some of the terrible
    consequences of the flourish in all areas of politic, economic and industry in the Victorian age. Indeed, a new social class appears the "underclass", at the same time the number of the middle class increases. Death becomes as a pleasant event and joy for the poor people since they think it's much better than their grim survival. In fact, all these events affected the literature of the time. Many writers start revealing the injustice system in their works. Take an example, Charles Dickens in his novel Oliver Twist. So, through his mastery of understandment, he is able to comment affectively on the horrible social conditions of the Victorian age. Dickens speaks out against the Poverty Laws of that age and against the general state of the legal system. And through the most important scenes in the novel he demonstrates the age generally and the poor conditions particularly.

    The first scene reveals for us one picture of many that set the bad circumstances at that time. When Oliver moves to live in the workhouse and after six months, an episode has happened which make a change in his life. Actually, the conditions in the workhouse are very poor. That is clear in the food they give to the children. And because the children are starving "the bowls never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again". And hence, one day they fade and they can't stand this anymore. So by a chance, the lot which they make falls on Oliver and he is the one who should ask for more. Oliver's dare in asking for more has been met seriously from the members of the board. His act moves up their surprise and horror. The day after, a notice is posted on the gate offering five pounds to anyone will take Oliver as an apprentice. Indeed, this scene confirms the very indigent situation and the injustice system in the Victorian age. Then, what is the problem if a child asks for more? Actually, their reaction is completely unjustified. Again, we find the author using heavy humor and irony to reveal the bad situations.

    The second scene starts by a sharp attack on the poor houses in England. Dickens describes those houses as he says "Some houses which had become insecure from age and decay were prevented from falling into the street by huge beams of wood reared against the walls". In this scene, we see Mr. Bumble comes to tell the undertaker that he is to conduct the funeral of a parishioner's wife. When Oliver and his master arrive at the house of the dead woman, they find the husband in a state of frenzy and anger. He rages that his wife was allowed to starve to death in the cold and dark while he was in prison for begging to get food. In fact, death in the family at that age is sometimes a joyful event because it entitled the dead person's family to some extra food and special consideration. That is very clear when the mother of the dead woman show no sadness for the death of her daughter. Whereas she cries the more when the clock is taken from her. One may notice from this scene the suffering from poverty that takes place at that time.

    By using irony and humor, Dickens explores the social conditions of that time especially for the poor and unprivileged. He has a critical view of the workhouses, the poor laws and the poor houses. For instance, he talks about the workhouse and says "So they establish the rule, that all poor people should have the alternative of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it". This shows the heavy irony which he has used. Besides, when he describes how the children are very hungry by saying "they would sit staring at the copper, with such eager eyes, as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed", he shows the dark humor. By exaggerating the scene of Oliver's asking for more, Dickens is telling gaps. So through the very important scenes in Oliver Twist and by using irony and humor and critical attack, the author demonstrates the suffering and sadness that takes place in the Victorian age.

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    Re: Oliver Twist .. please help me...

    I'll start and come back later- I am leaving to go to work now.

    In the first paragraph 'flourish' doesn't work. I would say that the poverty, etc, was the downside of the rapid economic and industrial growth in Victorian England- there were positive aspects too, so I'd change or qualify the word 'consequences'.

    Back later.

  2. Ms.Soft's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
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    Cool Re: Oliver Twist .. please help me...

    Hello ,

    Thank You tdol for the reply, I really appreciate that

    waiting for you


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