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    Character and language Essay (810 words)

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    Discuss the presentation of Dickens’ treatment of the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist, paying particular attention to his use of setting, character and language. In Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, the most violent and darkest part of the book has to be the cold-blooded murder of Nancy. Nancy has been portrayed as a motherly figure to the orphans so when she is murdered, the reader feels genuine loss upon her death.

    The death of Nancy is predicted as Bill Sikes has been portrayed as the opposite of Nancy, violent and unpredictable. Most of his violence is directed at Nancy throughout the book and he unleashes his true wrath upon her in her final chapter, ‘Fatal Consequences’. Fagin plays a big part in the death of Nancy, as he gets one of his boys, Noah, to tell Sikes what Nancy has done. Fagin’s personality is very much like a wolf’s or a rat’s, sly and manipulative.

    The title of the chapter where Nancy is murdered is called ‘Fatal Consequences’. Is it a fairly obvious forewarning of what is coming up. Dickens has used this title as a dramatic narrative device to prepare the reader of what is to come in the rest of the chapter. The word ‘Fatal’, in the chapter title, gives the idea for the audience that something is going to happen. The first paragraph gives a very detailed description of the setting, and really sets the mood. The time is being described as ‘nearly two hours before daybreak; dead of night, when the streets are silent and deserted, when even sound appears to slumber…’ which builds even more to the tension.

    The use of personification on the sound is well used and gives a feel that can only be described as a shiver down your spine. ‘Autumn of the year’ has been associated with death and the end of life which reveals more to deaths. It then goes into describing ‘the Jew’ as ‘some hideous phantom, moist from the grave and worried by an evil spirit’. This is a shocking unpleasant use of imagery and foreshadows Fagin’s death. I think the reason why Dickens gives such a negative view of Fagin is because he is about to betray one of the very few people who generally like him. The negative view of him makes the reader think, what has he done to deserve such a brutal description. Dickens describes him as a nice person who cares for people, but when Dickens describes him as ‘some hideous phantom’ it gives you a complete different perspective of him.

    Throughout the whole chapter, Dickens uses a lot of negative imagery to show how sinister the chapter is what is yet to come. Fagin has been described as ‘some hideous phantom, moist from the grave’ which makes the mood Dickens is creating even more obscured. His face is ‘distorted and pale’ which is very much like Nancy’s at the end of the chapter. During ‘Fatal Consequences’, we learn how Fagin is feeling from the language that Dickens uses to portray his character. When Sikes enters the room, he is described as ‘burly’. When he gives the bundle to Fagin, it makes the audience wonder, what has Sikes got there? And what took him so long to get it? During the silence here, it seems as if Sikes is being frightened by Fagin’s silence and the terror in his eyes. ‘Wot now’ represents the dialect that was used in Dickens time. The way Sikes speaks is very plain.

    This shows that he is not well educated. The effect of Sikes not having a good education makes the reader feel a little bit sorry for Sikes as he didn’t an education or the opportunity as some people would have in Victorian times. Maybe the reason he is violent and unpredictable is because he didn’t get a very good education as a child. Fagin then gets Noah Claypole, (also known as Bolter to Fagin) to tell Sikes of what Nancy has done. Fagin then revolutionizes the story to make it sound like Nancy has ratted out Sikes. Dickens uses a range of names for each character. Fagin can be called Fagin or the Jew and Bill Sikes can be called, Bill, Sikes, and Bill Sikes, the Robber or housebreaker.

    These names are used when they are talking to different people. Before Sikes leaves to visit Nancy, ‘there was a fire in the eyes of both which could not be mistaken’. This shows that they are both angry and frustrated, but Fagin suddenly changes his emotion, ‘he felt all disguise was now useless’. The whole time that he has been speaking to Bill, he has just been manipulating him to get what he wanted. ‘Without one pause or moment’s consideration;’ Bill Sikes isn’t thinking now, he’s just going to get on with the job.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Character and language Essay (810 words). (2017, Nov 08). Retrieved from

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