This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Oliver Twist Debate Essay

1504 words - 6 pages

Topic: Be it resolved that in his work Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens seems to be arguing that influence and environment (nurture), rather than inherent vice (nature), cause criminal behaviour.

CON- for nature

Opening Statement:
It is apparent that Oliver Twist is a novel that contrasts the nature of good with the nature of bad. Furthermore, it is inherent vice that makes the criminals within these pages and not influence or environment. The characters of Fagin, Oliver, and Monks clearly demonstrate this fact proving proof that nature is what directs and shapes us.

Argument 1:
Fagin is a character of evil nature. Even when he could have been given some sort of redemption he refuses and remains evil. In prison he tries to induce Oliver to fool the guards and set him free, “Say I’ve gone to sleep-they’ll believe you. You can get me out, if you take me so.” (Ch. 52, p.414) There are several passages that suggest Fagin has been a criminal for a very long time and that his nature is not easily changed. When we are introduced to Monks, he says that Fagin has been in the business of criminalizing boys for a good while, “Why not have kept him here among the rest, and made a sneaking, snivelling pickpocket of him at once (…) Haven’t you done it, with other boys, scores of times?”. (Ch.26, p.194) In earlier chapters, Oliver also seems to make this connection. “Deeply laid plans for the destruction of inconveniently knowing or over-communicative persons, had been really devised and carried out by the old Jew on more occasions than one, he (Oliver) thought by no means unlikely. (Ch.18, p.130) Fagin also confesses, shortly after Oliver catches a glimpse of him admiring stolen jewels, that: “The folks call me a miser, my dear. Only a miser; that’s all.” (Ch.9 p.62), as if it were a fact of his nature and he could not simply change the title.

Argument 2:
Oliver Twist is the most obvious example of how it is nature that causes a person’s behaviour. Throughout the novel, Oliver is constantly surrounded by criminals but he remains sweet and innocent. While he is often forced into criminal behaviour his heart is never into it and he never actually steals anything. It is clear that Fagin is determined to turn him but Oliver somehow manages to resist. It is as Dickens writes at the beginning of the novel in chapter 2, page 49: “But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast: it had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to a spare diet of the establishment; and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed to his having a ninth birthday at all.” It is his nature that drives him forward and gives him his strong will to resist evil. As Dickens hints, he has inherited this nature from his mother who was described as being “such a gentle lamb” (page 227, chapter 24) by Old Sally Thingummy, and as having a “gentle heart, and noble nature” (Ch.51, p.399). Despite his surroundings, Oliver remains pure. His environment had...

Find Another Essay On Oliver Twist Debate

Homophobic, I Think Not Essay

940 words - 4 pages anyone protesting Oliver Stone or Stanley Kubrick. I personally believe that the way Eminem presents all of his songs you can distinguish between what he is really getting at and when he is just playing on words. When VH1 interviewed him they asked "Why do you think that people misunderstood or misperceived your work on The Marshall Mathers LP?" He replied with, "What I was saying wasn't very different than what N.W.A. or Ice-T had said. My

History of Child labour Essay

2054 words - 8 pages evidence to the Factories Inquiries Commission of 1832 maintained that ‘Children were not designed for labour,’ (Block 2, p.86). Charles Dickens’ 1837 novel, Oliver Twist, was the first novel to centre on a child protagonist, and the cruel treatment of Oliver by employers and officials was powerful rhetoric against common practices of the day. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem The Cry of the Chilren, 1844, and Charles Kingsley

Victorian Age

1166 words - 5 pages by their work("Charles Dickens", online). Dickens other noted novels were Oliver Twist, David Cooperfield, Great Expectations and Our Mutal Friend. William Thakerary's greatest novel, Vanity Fair, refused both to elevate the heroine onto traditional pedestal and to conflict upon her antagonists complete defeat. George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) was perhaps the most learned of the Victorian novelists. She wrote The Mill on the Floss, a novel

How Literature was Affected in the Victorian Age

1629 words - 7 pages inclusive type of writing. His novels are read more often because readers are fascinated by his picturesque types of social realities: incest, crime, pain, adulation and antagonism toward women. Bleak House for example, ends with a happy couple, but as in most comedies, their marriage does not resolve the social and physiological issues raised by their work('Charles Dickens', online). Dickens other noted novels were Oliver Twist, David Cooperfield

Michèle Roberts’s The Looking Glass

6346 words - 25 pages to Caroline Hamard, Flaubert's niece, for a length of time at Croisset. The relationship between Flaubert and Herbert is a matter of much debate among critics and biographers. See Oliver for an investigation of this relationship. 8 It is significant, in line with the discussion of textual authority and the creation of history and biography, that it is Barnes' fictional biographer, Geoffrey Braithwaite, who is writing this version of Colet's

John Milton

2374 words - 10 pages this time, Milton’s poetry did lay down and contributed to the foundation of Romanticism, as he was influenced many famous Romantic writers. As the term Renaissance directly translates to “rebirth”, the Renaissance movement in England, although up to debate on what actually spawned the movement, was a departure from the previous Dark Ages as people began to awake from a long slumber of depression and darkness. Society began to attempt achieving a

O. Henry

4357 words - 17 pages William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 - June 5, 1910), known by his pen name O. Henry, was an American writer. O. Henry's short stories are known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings.Early life[edit]William Sidney Porter was born on September 11, 1862, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He changed the spelling of his middle name to Sydney in 1898. His parents were Dr. Algernon Sidney Porter (1825-88), a

England Swings into it's own Grave: England Swings, right into its own Grave. An analysis of the depiction of British National Identity in the 1973 Vincent Price horror classic "Theatre of Blood"

4953 words - 20 pages Oliver Twist (1948), Laurence Olivier’s interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1948), and the bleak seriousness of Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945), as well as the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger directorial partnership. Despite their inherent stagnancy, these “Classic” works adhered greatly to a centuries’ old definition of “Britishness”, refined, intelligent, and rooted in literary nostalgia. In

Revolution I

7423 words - 30 pages ;n para la legislación específica). Contorno de la lección El contorno que sigue no incluye un margen de tiempo para el uso de Tiempos DickensҠHard y Oliver Twist. La frecuencia de uso y la profundidad del estudio acerca de estos trabajos mejor se dejan hasta el profesor. En cambio, las notas de estos dos libros se incluyen al final de esta sección. Un ӳtudy se puso, Ԡconsisting de mapas, dibujos y

The Battle of Britain

7730 words - 31 pages came over the face of Mr. Bumble when Oliver Twist held out his little bowl and asked for more…If Germany continues this expansion and if we continue to carry out our scheme, then, sometime in 1936, Germany will be defiantly and substantially stronger in air than Great Britain…Once they have got that lead we may never be able to overtake them. (Mason, Travis K. Battle Over Britain. New York: Doubleday and Company Incorporated, 1969. 80). Even

The Frontier of America

7428 words - 30 pages (Billington The Far Western Frontier, 169).Polk was determined to secure the territory of California by any means. Since Mexico refused to negotiate the only other way taking the land is by war. The war had started. The war ended with a bitter twist. The territory wanted was haggled over for a long time before an agreement could be reached in the town of Hidalgo, Guadalupe. On February 2, 1848 Mexico agreed to accept the payment of $15,000,000 for

Similar Essays

The Fiction And Journalism Of Charles Dickens

4525 words - 18 pages are sent, Dickens' journalism expresses a firm opinion in matters of penal theory. Notably, in "Pet Prisoners," an 1850 Household Words essay which appeared after prison reforms had made those institutions much different than they appeared in early novels like Oliver Twist, Dickens took sides in the heated debate over the "separate system" and the "silent system" (Philip and Neuberg 70). Letters indicate he supported the latter, but "Pet Prisoners

Conciencous America Essay

1161 words - 5 pages Kirby, the woodsman who loves to cut down trees and then burns them. He is a very wasteful character according to Natty. Indian John is another person of interest, but he does not really play into the debate. He is acknowledged as someone who respects the land and agrees with Natty in general about hunting. The final two characters, and possibly the most important characters in this debate, are Oliver and Elizabeth. They, in the end, get married and

Analysis Of The Beggar´S Opera

1840 words - 8 pages This essay will seek to explore how far literature of the time subscribes to the view in The Beggar’s Opera – ‘O London is a Fine Town’. In order to do this, the essay will examine ‘London’ by William Blake, ‘Tintern Abbey’ and ‘Composed upon Westmisnster bridge by Wordsworth and Oliver Twist by Dickens. The Beggar’s Opera was written in 1728 and is considered to be ‘the most complete statement of Gay’s attitude toward the town and its evils

Charles Dickens Yo Essay

1885 words - 8 pages Insolvent Court. All this time, his was sent, instead, to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, on Hungerford Stairs, near the present Charing Cross railway station, where he primarily pasted labels onto pots of blacking, or shoe polish. He earned a measly six shillings a week. During his time at the factory Dickens lost his family home entirely, forcing him to wander the streets alone and helpless (a la Oliver Twist). Naturally, his experience