Discuss how Charles Dickens portrays the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist paying particular attention to his use of setting, character, language and events leading up to the murder “Oliver Twist” was written by Charles Dickens. He was born on February 7th 1812 in Landport which is situated in Portsmouth, England. He worked in a blacking factory where shoe polish is produced and Dickens job was to paste labels to the bottles of polish. The working conditions then were dreadfully poor, He was doing this job when he was 12 years old which meant that in those days children had little childhood where they can have fun like nowadays.Order now
This was the same age when Oliver worked in the workhouse and because Dickens had experienced working in poor conditions when he was young he made the book more dramatic and more real life and also expresses Oliver’s feeling well. He saw the results of poor parenting and he himself had witnessed the wretchedness of poverty. Several of his novels draw on these experiences and they include boys living through vindictive and humiliating experiences. One of these was “Oliver Twist,” this was written to express Dickens feelings towards society and how it needed to be changed so that there was no difference between the rich and the poor and that we are all human beings.
“Oliver Twist” was published in chapters or episodes for a magazine so the reader will want to read on. Dickens also did reading tours where he read extracts to a audience and because he had written the novel himself he captured the tones and the accents of the characters brilliantly. The most shocking and upsetting chapter of the novel is “Fatal Consequences” which by all accounts was a terrifying experience for the audience listening and reading.
At that time stories which had ghosts, crime and suspense were enjoyed. This era was called the “Romantic Era.” Even though people enjoyed these types of stories, women fainted during the readings such as when he was reading “Fatal Consequences,” Even Dickens blood pressure and pulse rate went to extreme extents and very high risk. The chapter was so melodramatic even Dickens was shocked and terrified. “Fatal Consequences” suggests to us that there will be a tragedy in this chapter, Dickens makes us have sympathy for Nancy during the novel and so when she is murdered we begin to have hatred for Sikes and feel sorry for Nancy. Sikes is referred to as a man and Nancy as a girl. Sikes is thirty five and we think that Nancy is around 16. Later on we discover Sikes Violence towards other people, even animals.
“This command was accompanied with a kick, which sent the animal to the other end of the room” Straight after we are told about his character, he hates everyone who goes against him and also “….threats …promises …bribes” people to get them to do something for him. After Sikes introduction who is violent and a greedy character, we get to know more about Nancy. Nancy cares for everyone and even for people she doesn’t know: “I wonder whether they can hear it,” she is referring to the men in jail and she calls them: “..poor fellows” This shows us her compassionate character. On the Other hand Sikes refers them as: “..Fine young chaps’-well they’re as good as dead, so it don’t much matter”.
This compares the two characters from Nancy being compassionate and has feelings for others to Sikes being hard and cold and doesn’t care if people even die. Later on in the novel Nancy stops Bill so she can protect Oliver, who is kidnapped. Dickens goes straight into this part of the novel beginning with Sikes aggressive violence: “Stand off from me, or I’ll split your head against the wall… The housebreaker flung the girl from him to the further end of the room.” Dickens uses different names for Sikes such as “..Mr Sikes,… housebreaker,.. man.” I think Dickens has done this to show the characters life, “..housebreaker”.
Dickens then contrasts Nancy compassion and Skies brutality in detail, This is part of the novel where Nancy has gone to collect Oliver to take him to Sikes, she goes because she knows the others will be violent with him. Nancy calls Oliver “Nolly dear” as a friend and also making Oliver realize that she will not hurt him. “Oliver could see that he had some power over the girl’s better feelings, and, for an instant though of appealing to her compassion for his helpless state.”
This tells us that Oliver can escape from Sikes using the “girl’s better feeling” and know that he will be safe with her. Also Nancy cares for Oliver ad a friend because she wants him to escape from Sikes clutches. I have saved you from being ill-used once, and I will again, and I do now,” continued the girl aloud: ” for those who would have fetched you, if I had not, would have been more rough than me…you will only do harm to yourself and me too, and perhaps be my death.
This makes us be on Nancy’s side but also Dickens uses touching words and also when she says” …perhaps be my death.” Makes us feel sorry for her and also makes us feel that she is risking her life for someone else: “She pointed, hastily, to some livid bruises on her neck and arm; and continued, with great rapidity” Dickens has done this to show the readers that Nancy cares for everyone and loves Bill even though he beats her, these bruises were not from before but they were “fresh” bruises which were bright red. Even though she was beaten and could not defend herself she still makes others feel safe: “The girl still held Oliver fast by the hand” Sikes’ treatment of Oliver is very different:
“Grasping Oliver’s wrist, and putting the barrel so close to his temple that they touched.” This makes us want to read on more because it scares us that he might shoot Oliver. Later on Dickens puts both Nancy and Sikes together so we can see Nancy’s’ love for Sikes and Sikes violence. When Bill is injured Nancy nurses him back to health. As soon as she helps him get up he.