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| Words: 1900 | Submitted: 06-Jun-2010
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Oliver is surrounded by midwifes and surgeons. His mother kisses his forehead and dies, "Let me see the child, and die” this shows that she only sees a glimpse of her child and dies. The nurse announces that Oliver’s mother was found lying in the streets the night before. The surgeon notices that she is not wearing a wedding ring so they think she is not a virgin and also this point out that they think like that about all poor people.
The treatment of the babies were like horses being able to live without eating, and who demonstrated it so well, that he got his own horse down to a straw a day, and would unquestionably have rendered him a very spirited and rapacious animal on nothing at all, if he had not died, four-and-twenty hours before he was to have had his first comfortable bait of air, for at the very moment when a child had contrived to exist upon the smallest possible portion of the weakest possible food.
It did perversely happen in eight and a half cases out of ten, either that it sickened from want and cold, or fell into the fire from neglect, or got half-smothered by accident; in anyone of which cases, the miserable little being was usually summoned into another world.
For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. “It was his ninth birth-day; and he was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a select party of two other young gentlemen” This phrase resembles the horrible environment that Oliver was born and brought up into. Nobody cared for Oliver; the workers at the orphanage probably did not even know his name. Oliver lived a predominantly sad life of loss and despair. Dickens uses imagery setting and satire to create a tone of hopelessness.
During the Victorian times all the orphan babies were given to look after, when Oliver was a baby he was given to the overseer Mrs. Mann to look after. She is paid to take care of the boys, but these live in harsh conditions. Dickens gives his own views when he says “despised by all and pitied by none” this suggest that he is hated by everyone but no one feel pity for him. Mrs. Mann is a very harsh, evil and selfish person. She uses all the money that she is given to look after the orphans; to herself. At the age of 9 Oliver is given to Mr. Bumble who will take him to the workhouse. Mrs. Mann does her best to impress him “well-affected ecstasies of joy” this shows that she’s delighted to welcome him. She does that to look good in front of Mr. Bumble; also because she doesn’t want him to suspect that she spends most of the money on her, so she flatters him “Observed Mrs. Mann, with captivating sweetness” this suggests that she’s being flirtatious. Dickens describes with great sarcasm the greed, laziness, and arrogance of charitable workers like Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Mann. In general, charitable institutions only reproduced the awful conditions in which the poor would live anyway.
Dickens described Oliver’s life with Mrs. Mann to highlight the point that poor children had a very miserable life in the Victorian era. As a reader I think it’s very distressing and unfortunate that the orphans used to get treated harshly and they had no one to look up to. Mr. Bumble takes Oliver away from the place where he spent his childhood and made some friends who were dear to him “he burst into an agony of childish grief” this denotes that he’s gloomy and melancholy because he made some friends there and they were the only ones who were dear to him.
Poor Oliver was very scared in front of the board members; he didn’t know what was going on “Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gentlemen” this justifies that he is fearful and petrified. The men from the board were insulting him they were being rude to degrade him "The boy is a fool” this suggests that they are being slanderous. The board men were all clean and round faced. “Eight or ten fat gentlemen were sitting round a table.” This suggests they get a lot to eat whereas the orphans hardly get anything to eat. Nonetheless, Dickens is trying to exaggerate and deliver a somewhat mixed message about social caste and social injustice.
Workhouse life for Oliver and the other boys was awfully unendurable. The board established a rule that all poor people should have the alternative of being “starved by a gradual process” which was terrible for Oliver and the other boys. They had less food to eat and were starving “The bowls never need washing” this highlights that they were so hungry that they licked all the bowls. As a result Dickens uses the poor children’s condition in the workhouse, to show the craving plight of the children in the Victorian era. As a reader I feel sorry for the poor children. Because they had very little to eat “sucking their fingers most assiduously” this suggests that they were craving to eat more.
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