Oliver Twist

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C. Ferguson
A.P. English

Oliver Twist, a novel written by Charles Dickens, may be regarded as a parable, an allegory, or a satire. Depending upon which character, in Oliver Twist, you discern, will determine your perspective on the novel. An allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of transcendent ideas such as, but not limited to, charity, greed, or envy. A prime character who exemplifies Oliver Twist as an allegory is Nancy.

The question of whether a bad environment can prematurely affect someone’s nature is one of the major concerns in Oliver Twist. Nancy was born a penniless orphan as was Rose, yet both turned out remarkably different. Nancy was taken in by Fagin, the leader of a group who pickpockets unsuspecting individuals. Nancy is dependent upon Fagin, a criminal, for food and shelter, whereas Rose is dependent upon Mrs. Maylie, a woman who offered her an opportunity to escape from her inopportune position. Nancy was surrounded by crooks and for that she lived the life of a thief and prostitute as hinted in chapter nine when Dickens describes Nancy as “…remarkably free and agreeable…”. The difference between both, Nancy and Rose, provides an insight into whether a person’s surroundings can poison their character. From the beginning of the novel, it seems lucid that Nancy is purely evil just as Sikes, a member of Fagin’s gang whom is loved tremendously by Nancy, and Fagin. In chapter thirteen, Nancy disguises herself as a middle-class woman in the hope to find out the truth behind what happened to Oliver. Just three chapters later however, a whole different side of Nancy is revealed when she defends Oliver against Sikes. It is at this point in the novel which makes it hard to differentiate the border...
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