Oliver Twist: the Anchor of Character Development

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Oliver Twist: the Anchor of Character Development

Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist, centers itself around the life of the young, orphan Oliver, but he is not a deeply developed character. He stays the same throughout the entire novel. He has a desire to be protected, he wants to be in a safe and secure environment, and he shows unconditional love and acceptance to the people around him. These are the only character traits that the reader knows of Oliver. He is an archetype of goodness and innocence. His innocence draws many people close to him. Each character is attracted to his innocence for different reasons, some to destroy it and others to build it. Their relationships with Oliver reveal nothing more about his personality. They reveal more about their own personalities. Therefore, Oliver is used not as the protagonist of the story, but as the anchor for the development of the other characters.

As the anchor of character development, Oliver helps reveal the redeeming qualities of Dickens' Mr. Brownlow. Dickens moves through a series of developments with Mr. Brownlow and it is only when he comes into contact with Oliver that his character is fully developed. He is initially described by Dickens as an "old gentlemen" with a "very respectable-looking personage, with a powdered head and gold spectacles" (114). The reader is left to draw their own conclusions about him as he is only described one dimensionally. When Mr. Brownlow gives chase to Oliver after being robbed by Olivers' associates, it seems as though Mr. Brownlow might have little respect or mercy for the lower class. Instead, the reader finds that Mr. Brownlow is a kind and merciful man. He takes pity on Oliver, telling the policeman not to hurt him and arguing for his release inside the court house. Mr. Brownlow takes Oliver to his house where he is very well cared for by Mrs. Bedwin. When Oliver recovers from his fever, he goes to speak with Mr. Brownlow. During their...
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