Oliver Twist Analysis

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In the 1830s England was rapidly undergoing a transformation from an agricultural economy to an urban, industrial nation. Many of the changes were helped by a new type of novel which is called the novel of social criticism. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is an example of this kind of a novel. There was a much wider market for literature because a lower-middle class public could afford to buy or borrow magazines containing serialized novels, or books. Dickens is known for his novels written for this public and covering the problems which concerned the people from the working class. Oliver Twist takes up the issue of workhouses and the treatment of the poor. The main themes of Oliver Twist are the failures of the organizations of charity run by the church or government in Dickens’s time, when people could receive any assistance only when they moved into workhouses where they were not treated as humans, and the same was with Oliver. Other theme is the purity in a city full of violence, evil and theft. Dickens confronted the question of whether the terrible environments presented have a power to change those who are pure. And after all we can assume that the answer is that they do not. Nancy, Sikes and Oliver, despite they were immersed in this sinister world they were still good and honest people. Next theme covered is the idealization of the countryside, which is very common for Victorian Epoch works. All the injustice suffered by Oliver occurred in cities where he lived, only when he was taken by the Maylies to the countryside, he discovered a new life. Dickens idealized the village and living in it, and that can be a proof that he was an urban writer, because only his distance from the countryside allowed him to idealize it. Dickens also used many symbols to create his novel. The names of the characters represent personal qualities, like Twist himself with his twists of fortune in his life, or Rose who is beautiful and young. Also Nancy’s decision to meet...
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