Read chapters 8-11 of Oliver Twist describing Oliver’s arrival in London and his early adventures with Fagin and his gang. How does Dickens make Oliver’s adventures memorable for his readers? In this essay I am going to study the story of ‘Oliver Twist’ and write about how Charles Dickens makes Oliver’s adventures with Fagin and his gang memorable for his readers. Dickens uses language to manipulate his reader’s feelings. Dickens loved the theatre and knew he could get an audience very involved by producing strong, exaggerated feelings. He uses a lot of emotive language in his story e.g.
The story of ‘Oliver Twist’ was written by Charles John Huffam Dickens. Charles Dickens was born on Friday 7th February 1812 at Portsmouth. He was middle lower class. His father was jailed for debt and with no one to maintain him; he was sent to work in a blacking factory. The labour force included urchins and rough working class boys; here he was forced to accept the reality of poverty. The story of ‘Oliver Twist’ is about a young boy and the story teaches the reader about the 19th century, it teaches the reader about the divisions of upper and lower classes. It teaches about how children are treated in those days and the conditions of the workhouses they are sent to work in from such young ages. It teaches you about life on the streets on London at that time.
The story follows a little boy. Oliver is starved and lives on gruel; his friends decide to dare him. Oliver asks the Beadle for more and for this offence, he is removed from the workhouse and apprenticed to Mr. Sowerberry, an undertaker. Here, he meets a boy called Noah Claypole who teases Oliver. Oliver attacks Noah because of insults about his mother. Oliver runs away leaving behind the boys he grew up with and the only life he had ever known. Oliver walks to London in 7 days!
When Oliver arrives in London he meets a young lad called John Dawkins, who is referred to as a charming, young gentleman. John Dawkins and is also known as the ‘Artful Dodger’. The Dodger picks him off the street and takes him to Fagin his boss. He tells Oliver he knows a place where he can stay without any lodgings and will be fed and watered. He says ‘…I know a ‘spectable old genelman as lives there, wot’ll give you lodgings for nothink…’
As they are walking through the streets of London, Dickens describes the surroundings and the path they took. This looks as if it’s been written by first hand experience, e.g. ‘They crossed from the Angel into St John’s Road; struck down the small street which terminates at Sadler’s Wells Theatre…’ It is as if Charles Dickens grew up in London and remembers them very well, and is describing what he remembered of the streets of London.
In this description of London he uses the sense of sight when he talks about how the states of the streets look e.g. ‘A dirtier or more wretched place he had never seen. The street was very narrow and muddy’ these words can create different thoughts and images in our mind, the words he uses sets the scene as dull and ugly and not a very nice place. Also he uses the sense of smell e.g. ‘…and the air was impregnated with filthy odours.’ Dickens uses this to make an impression that the air is filled with horrible smells such as rotting and decay and pollution.
He uses the sense of sound e.g. ‘heaps of children, who, even at that time of night, were crawling in and out of doors, or screaming from the inside.’ There are social abuses in this such as ‘and from several of the door-ways, great ill-looking fellows were cautiously emerging, bound, to all appearance, on no very well-disposed or harmless errands,’ which basically means people going out and doing no good and causing a nuisance, often getting drunk as well which at this time would have been appalling towards the upper class especially as it was very un lady like to get drunk at that time.
Dickens makes this seem that the description is through Oliver’s eyes by saying at the beginning ‘Although Oliver had enough to occupy his attention in keeping sight of his leader, he could not help bestowing a few hasty glances on either side of the way as he passed along.’ This makes it sound like Oliver is describing the streets of London as he’s walking through. Dickens uses emotive language to make it clear he feels strongly about the state of London, he uses negative descriptions of London to say it’s not a very nice place e.g. ‘A dirtier more wretched place he had never seen’ and ‘air was impregnated with filthy odours’. Also he says ‘where drunken men and woman were positively wallowing in filth.’ He has a good use of adjectives; the words underlined don’t seem very nice describing words and makes us feel uncomfortable.