How does Dickens portray his attitude to charity in the
Opening chapters of Oliver Twist
The novel Oliver Twist was written by Charles Dickens in the mid
1930’s. Society in the mid 1800’s had a huge gulf between the rich and
the poor, This was because before 1834, the cost of looking after the
poor was growing more expensive every year. This cost was paid by the
middle and upper classes in each town through their local taxes. There
was a real suspicion amongst the middle class and upper classes that
they were paying the poor to be lazy and avoid work. This made a
divide between the rich and the poor, this was because the middle and
upper class people did not want to be paying for the lower class
people with there hard earned money to sit around all day and just be
given a home and food for nothing, while they have to work all day and
pay out for the lower class people,when they would mush rather be
using their money on their own families.
The poor law was a burden of the parishes top care for the poor
through alms and taxes. The poor was the main form of charity around
at the time. After 1834 these laws where supposedly changed so that
the poor law provided aid and assistance to impoverished people.
However the system had serious flaws.The New Poor Law was really a
series of measures enacted in 1834. It was deisgned that the
workhouses would not be pleasant places. This was thought that it
would provide added incentive for people to be self sufficient.
Charles Dickens used Oliver Twist to point out truths about Victorian
England that polite society tried to ignore.
Parishes were bounded together into unions by the new poor law. Each
unoin had a workhouse, and all those seeking relief were required to
become inmates in the work house. The new law made seeking relief as
undesirable as possible. These workhouses were little more than a
prison for the poor. Charles Dickens showed his own attitude on the
poor law in sarcasm and personification.
“Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a
workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance
that can possibly befall a human being.”
Here Dickens is being sarcastic he saying that it couldn‘t be
considered good being born into a work house. Dickens thought on the
charity were that it was not a fair process the poor were human to and
did not deserve to be treated in such ways, as a whole Dickens thought
the poor law was a good idea but was never used correctly, the poor
were treated as if they had done something wrong, they were never
“Oliver had been surrounded by careful Grandmothers, anxious aunts,
experienced nurses, and Doctors of profound wisdom, he would have most
inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time”
Again Dickens is using sarcasm to get the point across that the,
Doctors, nurses, Grandmothers and aunts, didn’t care about the people
they were helping this was just...