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Comparison of the portrayal of the Dodger, between Charles Dicken...

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Comparison of the portrayal of the Dodger, between Charles Dickens "Oliver Twist" and the movie "Oliver Twist" (1997)

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  • March 31, 2008
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Dickens, Charles. _Oliver Twist_. New York: Signet Classic, 1961.

_Oliver Twist._ Tony Bill. Richard Dreyfus, Elijah Wood, David O'Hara, Alex Trent, Antoine Byrne. Disney Studios, 1997. 91 minutes. Color.

One of the most important and captivating characters within _Oliver Twist_ is Jack Dawkins, who propels the story forward whenever he is present in a scene. In Tony Bill's version of the film, the portrayal of the Dodger is very different from Charles Dickens original depiction of Jack within the novel. However, both Tony Bill and Dickens present the Dodger as a clever, intelligent thief who has put his wits to the test repeatedly, and survived to become stronger and smarter at every turn. Here once again, the way that the cleverness and intelligence of the Dodger are presented vary strikingly from one medium to the next. Both Charles Dickens book and Tony Bill's movie present the Dodger in different manners, yet in each, the Dodger comes out as a strong, appealing character that people will always remember and understand.

In Dickens's book, the reader first familiarizes himself with Mr. Dawkins a little ways outside of London when he first meets up with Oliver. Dickens gives his description as being

"He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy . . . and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; . . . he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. . . . [He] was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. . . . He was, altogether, as roistering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers (83)."

This description paints the Dodger as a dirty delinquent who revels in the art of having fun - whether it be at someone else's expense or his own. Tony Bill, however, presents Jack in a bit of a different light. Here the viewer meets Jack as he stops the pure and morally upright Oliver from stealing some food in a marketplace. In this episode, Tony Bill paints the...