Oliver Twist The poverty and cruelty of old London and surrounding areas set in England inspired Charles Dickens to create an incredibly moving and interesting story of a simple pauper boy going through life in a harsh and unforgiving time.
Oliver Twist is not just about some boy that was born poor trying to survive in the streets of London.I discovered that there is more to the book than just the story of Oliver and his friends; there are hidden truths to the book that still apply to everyday action today. As a boy with no money in a place where people without wealth, especially children, are looked upon with less respect than poorly treated dog.
Oliver is a boy that was born in a london workhouse with only his mother, a nurse, and the surgeon that delivered him. His mother died almost immediatly after his birth and his father was one of the many men his mother had "worked" and had left them as soon as he had done his business.
So Oliver grew up with other orphans in a grouphome with violent children and a keeper that saved a lot of money feeding the children watered down crushed grains or "gruel".
He is brought out of the orphanage to be plced in a workhouse by a man named Mr. Bumble on th day of his ninth birthday. Mr. Bumble is an extremely unreasonable man with very little patience for young,uneducated pauper boys and yet he retains enough self pity for himself. Oliver is taken to the work house and fed even more meager rations. He is presented before the "board" and when he is questioned he gets overwhelmed and starts to cry. The men of the board believe that this is a sign of ungratefulness and stupidity.So Oliver is forced to live at the workhouse until one fateful day when one of the children he lived with decided they needed more to eat so somebody had to ask for more. The children looked around and since Oliver was one of the smallest he was forced to ask for more gruel. The person serving the gruel acted as if Oliver had commited not only a crime but an atrocity, how dare some poor wretch have the ungratefullness and pride to demand for more gruel than that which was given?! So they beat him and put him up for sale as an apprentice. A chimney sweeper with a detailed history of abuse and possible torture to other boys he had apprenticed, two of which had died from blood loss. When the proper papers were to be signed and Oliver was to be turned over he begged to be beaten, starved, and even hung but not released to this man. One of the old men of the board had mercy and instead sold him to an honest undertaker. Oliver went there very gratefully and swore he would work for the undertaker very diligently. He worked hard at comforting people at funerals. He slept in the basement of the house with the coffins and fed meat the dog wouldn't touch. He worked well until another boy who was a friend of the female head of the house insulted his mother and Oliver attacked him very viciously. After being beaten Oliver escaped to London where he meets other friends and even more enemies. This passage has been a summary of a small portion of the book to display the types of prejudice and punishments Oliver has and will continue to encounter.
Oliver's character and demeanor didn't help his situation any either. He was fairly straight forward and therefore he was considered prideful because he spok to people above himself socially. His crying also got him in to trouble because people thought it meant he was ungrateful for everything he was given and didn't believe he was being treated as he should be.
There were also many chance events were Oliver was particularly unlucky, one being when he was chosen to ask for more food at the work house and another time he was caught in the middle of the night on the street by people that were trying to turn him into a thief;they caught in the middle of returning books for his new kind and old caretaker and was entrusted with a five pound note to pay for the books, so when they captured him his master thought he had run off with the money and books. Oliver's story did end on a good note though, after many challenges and many,many beatings a pauper was to expect he lived with his kind old caretaker for many days of his life.
Charles Dickens describes most of the characters in the story as a basic outline, he gives no details on their facial appearances or certain types of hair or eye color. He doesn't even include a description of Oliver except that he is small and has a wiry build and that part of Oliver's description was really the only thing pertinent to the plot as it enabled him to do some tasks larger people couldn't do,most of these activities included fitting through windows to rob homes. The author does,however, give incredibly detailed account of the characters actions and demeanor so that the reader instantly imagines the person with the likeness they give them in their own mind.
He didn't dedicate much to the setting either except for the fact that it was London and he would sometimes include particulars about the weather if it had anything to with the plot of the story or Olivers actions. Charles Dickens included only what was of use to the plot, but he made the plot so extensive and erratic that each page was dense with information anyway.
The fact that there were many details to pay attention to and the fact the author went a little overboard with his articulacy made the book a little hard to read.The author chose many descriptive phrases and even metaphors to describe actions and intents of the different characters, yet he seemed to focus on very trivial things that just barely applied to one of the details of the story. The author also adjusted his spelling to show the english accent of the different characters which sometimes added to the confusion and sometimes gave a charming accent to a conversation in the book. The author was very good at describing tones, most of which included somebody yelling at Oliver. All in all the book was a very good book that was a bit too confusing and slow going to be very enjoyable, but it would make a very good movie.