How does Dickens fulfil his role as social critic "Oliver Twist" (with close reference to chapters 2 and 3)? Free essay! Download now
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How does Dickens fulfil his role as social critic "Oliver Twist" (with close reference to chapters 2 and 3)?
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| Words: 1850 | Submitted: 18-Mar-2009
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Description"Oliver Twist" . Essay explores Dickens' role in exposing the difficult conditions that children faced in Victorian England
Charles Dickens was a popular writer who lived in the Victorian era. He was originally born in Portsmouth in 1812 but he found himself moving between London and Portsmouth due to his father's debts. When Charles was twelve his father was put in prison because of the debts. The whole family apart from Charles was put in prison with the father. Charles then had to support his family for three months, so he left school and went to work in a factory. These days were to have a lasting effect on Charles` life. We find this out when we read his novels, usually concentrating on poverty and its effects (especially on children). Charles was very critical of how the poor were treated in Victorian society. As well as writing novels, Dickens was also a journalist, speechmaker and fundraiser: he raised funds for the famous Great Ormond Street Hospital among other charitable children's causes.
In my essay I am going to look at chapters 2 and 3 in "Oliver Twist". The novel is a rags to riches story about a boy called Oliver who was born in a workhouse; where his mother dies in childbirth and his father is also apparently missing. He is sold on by the workhouse at nine years of age and then runs away to London. After meeting the Artful Dodger, Oliver has a number of adventures in the East End of London. The Artful Dodger is the one who offers Oliver a bed in Fagin's house. The Artful Dodger is a pick pocket as are his friends, who teach Oliver the trade and he soon finds himself in a lot of trouble.
Chapters two and three of the book concentrate on Oliver and his first experiences of life in a main workhouse. The parish board is in charge of deciding Oliver's future as he spent the first eight years of his life in a baby farm. Oliver's job in the workhouse is picking oakum from six o'clock in the morning. He is then fed three bowls of gruel a day, with an onion twice a week and half a roll on a Sunday. During his six months in the workhouse Oliver has seen many young people die due to starvation. In Chapter two Oliver is forced to ask for more food by other boys in the workhouse. Due to this "outburst" the parish board decide to offer Oliver to any man or woman that would like an apprentice.
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