Charles Dickens' Novels: Analysis of Major Characters

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Main characters of two prominent Charles Dickens' novels, Oliver Twist from ''Oliver Twist'' and Pip from ''Great Expections'' have a similar lifepath and share common characteristics. The reason might be that both reflect painful experiences which occurred in Dickens' past. During his childhood, Charles Dickens suffered much abuse from his parents. This abuse is often mentioned in his novels, and it plays an essential role in two of his greatest works, ''Oliver Twist'' and ''Great Expectations.''

Pip in ''Great Expectations'' talked often about the abuse he received at the hands of his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery. Once he remarked, "I soon found myself getting heavily bumped from behind in the nape of the neck and the small of the back, and having my face. Ignominously shoved against the wall, because I did not answer those questions at sufficient length." (Great Expectations, page 34) While at the orphanage, Oliver from ''Oliver Twist'' also experienced a great amount of abuse. For instance, while suffering from starvation and malnutrition for a long time period, Oliver was chosen by other boys at the orphanage to request more gruel at dinner one night. After making this simple request, "the master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for the beadle." (Oliver Twist, page 28)

Both young boys were orphaned practically from birth: Pip is sent to live with and be consequently abused by his sister, while Oliver is sent to live in an orphanage. Pip is a very curious young boy. He is a "child of intense and yearning fancy." (page 10) Yet, Oliver is a very well spoken boy. Even when his life was in jeopardy while in the hands of Fagin and Bill Sikes, two pickpockets, he refused to participate in the stealing which he greatly opposed. All Oliver really longed for was to escape from harsh living conditions and evil surroundings which he had grown up in. However, no matter how tempting the evil may have been, Oliver...
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