Dickens as a motivator of soci

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Charles Dickens wrote a masterpiece in Oliver Twist. He wrote a book that sold more than 4 million copies in the decade after his death in England alone. Oliver Twist continues to be one of the most famous books around. His novel is a delight to read because of his clever writing style, and important messages. It is true that Dickens panders to the audience with Oliver Twist, but he wrote Oliver Twist more to foster social reform than to entertain.

One thing that misleads the reading into thinking that Oliver Twist is no more than entertaining fiction is the deceptively simple plot: action, suspense, obvious "good guys" and "bad guys" and a happy ending.

Oliver himself provides a great deal of the action. He fights Noah Claypole, a bullish adopted boy, after Noah makes disparaging comments about his mother (48). As a result of this, Oliver himself is beaten by every member of this household and the local beadle as well (53).

This treatment causes him to flee to a place where he is framed by thieves for stealing and then chased by an angry mob (73). When caught, he is beaten again and thrown into a jail cell (75). Later on in the story, the same group of thieves forces him to rob a house at gunpoint (165). This encounter erupts when the tenants of the house find them, and Oliver ends up getting shot and thrown into a ditch (166). When he awakens, he staggers around half-dead, eventually reaching this same house that he was forced to rob and then abused by the tenants a second time. This is certainly plenty of action.

Suspense begins to build when Oliver comes near to starvation in the workhouse that he is born in, rises when he...