Oliver Twist: The Personification Of Charles Dickens

945 words - 4 pages

During the Victorian era many children of the lower social class where forced to live very miserable lives. Charles Dickens who grew up in this era was placed to work at the age of twelve in a Blacking factory in order to survive. The jobs that Dickens and other children of his age and even younger were forced to work were jobs that required very intense labor and resulted in extremely low wages. Thinking about his past, Dickens wanted to see a change in society. In an approach to draw society’s attention to the hardships of orphaned children, Dickens decided to write the novel Oliver Twist. Dickens was inspired to write the novel in hopes that the story of an orphan boy would shed light on the issues of the time while also serving as a protest against the Poor Law of 1834 which stopped government payments to the poor unless they worked in the workhouse. Oliver Twist not only illustrates the issues of the poor and a search for belonging but also shows how orphaned children were never seen as innocence.
In the beginning of the novel Dickens shows how poor orphan children are affected while living and working in the workhouse. In this first chapter Dickens narrates the birth of Oliver and how once he was born his mother died and he was taken over by the authorities of the workhouse. Dickens purpose in showing Oliver’s mother dead once she gave birth is meant to demonstrate the lack of choice children had when it came to whether or not they wanted to work in the workhouse. The struggle poor orphan children face is prevalent throughout the entire novel. The workhouse can very well be called an orphanage. During the Victorian era when children were placed in theses workhouses they were deprived of food and were never taken care of. Dickens reveals the truth about these workhouses by describing the mental and physical state of Oliver while he is living there. Being poor during this time meant that you were expected to take what you get and never ask for more. Dickens shows this in the novel when Oliver asks the authorities of the workhouse if he can have more food. The fact that Oliver was bold enough to ask for more than they had given him, angered the authorities to the point that they want to get rid of Oliver. Based on the novel it is safe to say that being a poor child also meant having no voice. None of the children living in the workhouse were able to give their opinions or freely speak on a topic. I found it very interesting when I came across some of the original illustrations from the novel. The main one that stood out to me was where Oliver was asking for more food.

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