Ria Dickens presents the everyday existence of the poor/lowest

Ria Singh              Ms.MorrisonEnglish IV H4/12/2017Draft 1 Oliver TwistIn Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens establishes the conflict between criminality and legally suffering through poverty which is commonly used in the Victorian Era. By highlighting this struggle, Dickens influenced the common law and court system in England.The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to her death in 1901. The Victorian era brought economic, social change and major influence in the industry: science and technology made new advances, trade expanded rapidly, and there was a rapid increase in population (Manolopoulou Pg 1). It also replaced poems with novels, which describes the contemporary life and to entertain the classes. The novels included the battle between right and wrong , the social class structure and morality. A major author of the time period is Charles Dickens. Charles life was going pretty well until his father was sent debtors prison. At the age of 12 ,he had to start working at a shoe factory till the time he got out and could start going to school again. Charles earlier work was published in sections in magazines. He used great satires which was entertaining for the readers also his work usually commented on social issues such as poverty. Oliver Twist a novel by Charles Dickens, it was first published in monthly installments in 1837 but in 1839 final chapters come along.Dickens was more favorable towards the poor as he himself suffered the harsh abuse (upon the poor by the legal system when his father was taken away).In England in the 1830s, the poor truly had no voice, political or economic. In Oliver Twist, Dickens presents the everyday existence of the poor/lowest members of English society. Oliver Twist is shown as a criticism of Victorian society treatment of the poor. Since it was believed that certain stereotypes were inherent to the poor and that poor families fostered rather than discouraging such stereotypes, poor husbands and wives were separated in order to prevent them from having children and expanding the lower class. Kids were taken away by the state. Noah Claypole relationship with Oliver illustrates Victorian England’s obsession with class distinctions.The son of a poor family, Noah is accustomed to the disdain of those who are better off than he is. He believed that since Oliver is a orphan,Oliver is worse off then he is.This reveals Dickens opinion which is that snobbishness is present in all the classes. Dickens criticized the Victorian characteristics of the poor as naturally immoral, criminal and filthy by making Oliver virtuous, good and innocent. His innocence is shown various times but one of the time is  when he reads a book which is similar to Newgate Calendar, a book about the lives of great criminals. He says it “made the blood run cold”. Charles extends his view by mentioning various locations and backgrounds about poverty.”The parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved, that Oliver should be ‘farmed,’ or, in other words, that he should be despatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws rolled about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much food, or too much clothing, under the parental superintendence of an elderly female who received the culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week” (Ch 2,Pg 1).The quote talks about conditions like how, Orphan children would get sent out of the workhouse to be brought up by someone who was paid by the parish. And the “poor-laws” which was designed to care for people but it instead it was not and usually tuned out to be a money bissiens for the parish authorities.”The fist had too often been impressed on his body not to be deeply impressed upon his recollection” (Ch 2); “would flog him to death in a playful mood, someday after dinner, or would knock his brains out with an iron bar”(Ch 2) .Children were also victims of physical abuse. In Oliver Twist, orphan usually picked on each other kids because it was a lack of a loving home. “Some houses which had become insecure from age and decay, were prevented from falling into the street, by huge beams of wood reared against the walls, and firmly planted in the road; but even these crazy dens seemed to have been selected as the nightly haunts of some houseless wretches, for many of the rough boards which supplied the place of door and window, were wrenched from their position, to afford an aperture wide enough for the passage of a human body. The kennel was stagnant and filthy. The very rats, which here and there lay putrefying in its rottenness, were hideous with famine” (Ch 5).This quote is about when Oliver goes with Sowerberry to get the body of a woman who died due to starvation, he can see the most disgusting slum houses he has ever seen. Dickens uses this quote to show how criminals really lived, in order to discourage poor people to take the path of crime and also wanted to show why are they forced to do it as well the natural urge for survival. The prejudice starts from the first the beginning of the book, Oliver’s famous sentence “Please, sir, I want some more” (Dickens Pg 27).  Even Though he was just asking for his own hunger, but the people find it as a overstepping of his social status (Sampler Pg 9).  Dickens then bring prejudice into the characters in Oliver Twist like  Fagin, Sikes, and Nancy (Who are criminals). Fagin believes that wealth is  “attractive and immediate”. Fagin uses reward system to teach Oliver how to steal “See if you can take the handkerchief out, without my feeling it: as you saw them do, when we were at play this morning.… You’re a clever boy, my dear…. I never saw a sharper lad. Here’s a shilling for you. If you go on, in this way, you’ll be the greatest man of the time” (Sampler Pg 11)Crime is a problem in general but during 1830s, there was a incredible increase of crime in london. Writers of the time portrayed this lifestyle in their work especially Dickens because he emphasized and shed light to the lower class who was looked down upon. During the time period a  major law influences was seen towards the law called “Poor Law”. This law created many of the situations and examples of the low class life throughout the novel. The book “Oliver Twist” is taken and shown some of the most filthiest, strangest and extraordinary locations .Showing how filthy houses were and even the air was hard to breath. The book caused an impact in society towards the poor as for the first time, their were real elaboration of the living conditions. It brought attention to the poor laws as well as children living conditions. Which left a lasting impact as it helped pushed for better living standards.The criminals preset in the book are shown as ugly, no family roots and are seen by the society as disgrace. It also show how even if the poor tried to gain or acquire social status it was made impossible by some people. In the book Oliver, even though he is a criminal he is perceived as a innocent boy. A character in the book, Mr.Brownlow’s first impression of Oliver is a bit of a shock as he says ‘There’s something in that boy’s face,’ said the old gentleman to himself… ‘something that touches and interests me. Can he be innocent?’ ” (Dickens Pg 76).This quote show how their has been a notion about that a face can reveal someone’s true nature. Readers and critics believe that Oliver’s appearance is  representation of his honest and innocent personality. “Oliver’s statement sounded so much like a falsehood that the old gentleman looked somewhat sternly into Oliver’s face. It was impossible to doubt him; there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened lineaments” (Dickens P 86). This quote confirms that at the end, Oliver is infact a innocent kid who is stuck in broken system.Charles does an excellent job portraying the living conditions ,social status by bringing attention to the living condition issues. Oliver at the end of the books is plucked out of poverty and criminality because he is discovered to have been wealthy all along. Showing the sudden change of status Oliver received . The criminals were seen as outsiders and were often separated from the poor, calling them the ” dangerous class” (Sampler Pg 42). Dicken uses this evaluation in his book. Dickens didn’t only influence the literature world with his work over the decades but also moved the legal system with some eye opening reality of the living condition and lives of lower class.

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