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Oliver Twist Essay

1407 words - 6 pages

Bonan YuanVernita BurrellEnglish 2000Sep 29, 2014Women in the Victorian EraOliver Twist by Charles Dickens was written in the Victorian era when women were supposed to be at home and perform domestic works. People back to that time admired women who were pure which means sexually inactive and capable of sacrifice especially for their husbands. Rose Maylie and Nancy, two characters portrayed by Dickens, are both originally orphans but from two completely different social classes. From both Rose and Nancy, we can see the strength of women demonstrated by Dickens that men are lack of.Rose is an orphan like Oliver Twist. She described as an innocent and perfect young girl. In Rose's first appearance of the novel, Dickens portrays Rose as an angel, "the young lady was in the lovely bloom and spring-time of womenhood: at that age, when, if ever angels be for God's good purposes enthroned in mortal forms, they may be, without impiety, supposed to aside in such as hers."(Chapter 29, page 177) Dickens also portrays her as "So mild and gentle; so pure and beautiful". Rose is a symbol of women that everyone admired in the Victorian Era. On the other hand, the initial portrait of Nancy gives people an impression of a woman who was born in low class and lack of manner. Dickens depicts Nancy and Bet as "they wore a good deal of hair, not very neatly turned up behind, and were a rather untidy about the shoes and stocks, they were not exactly pretty, perhaps; but they had a great deal of colour in their faces, and looked quite stout and hearty. Being remarkably free and agreeable in their manners, Oliver thought them very nice girls indeed. As there is no doubt they were." (Chapter 9, Page53) The two words used here "stout and hearty" shows that Nancy may not be beautiful and gentle but strong and practical. For Rose, Dickens uses every possible word to describe her beauty and elegance. In contrast, Dickens depicts Nancy as a mundane woman with heavy makeup and low manners. However, despite her behaviors and outlook, she is also introduced as a nice girl. Therefore, from the first introduction of the two characters, Nancy and Rose are both introduced as the positive roles but they are introduced in different ways.Social class is a quite important factor in forming a person's characteristic. Nancy belongs to the working class which was the lowest class in society. She is only 16 years old but behaves much older than she really is. She works as prostitute but she is also Sike's mistress and a member of Fagin's gang. Nancy does not has a last name in the novel which means that she has no family and no identity. Comparing to Nancy, Rose was also an orphan but she was adopted by Mrs. Maylie when she was a young girl that gives Rose a name which is also a family and an identity. From the conversation between Rose and Nancy, Dickens tries to highlight the social difference between Rose and Nancy,"'Oh, lady, lady!' she said, clasping her hands passionately before her...

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