Dickens refers to the parish babies as ” juvenile offenders against the poor laws” This is not Dickens’ view but the view of others. They thought poor babies were a burden upon the parish. Dickens then explains that Mrs Mann “was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for children: and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself”. Dickens is trying to say that Mrs Mann and similar women in her position are not really wise but are really cunning and are deceiving the parish. Dickens presents images of the babies being neglected.Order now
He wants the readers to be shocked by these images and goes into detail to shock the readers even more than to just say that he children were neglected. Oliver’s birthday treatment at Mrs Mann’s and in front of the Board is surprising and shocking as no one noticed that it was his birthday and were cruel to him. Mrs Mann threatens Oliver to make him pretend that he is disappointed to be leaving her. “He caught sight of Mrs Mann, who had got behind the beadle’s chair, and was shaking her fist at him”. It also goes on to say that she had beaten him so often that he understood at once.
We are told that when Oliver returns to the workhouse he was given “a rough, hard bed” and so “sobbed himself to sleep. What a noble illustration of the tender laws of England! ” Thinking of the saying “You’ve made your bed: now you’ll have to lie on it” Oliver had no opportunity to “make his bed”, he is just a victim of society. Dickens is being sarcastic when he says ” What a noble illustration of the tender laws of England” because it is not noble at all, they had no high principles that you would expect from someone who is noble. Dickens mocks the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 because he does not agrees with this law at all and dislikes.
The “master” is physically compared to Oliver. The master is described as ” a fat, healthy man”. Dickens is trying to show, by using such a contrast, how underfed and badly treated the boys and Oliver were in comparison the “fat, healthy man” that was the master who obviously got enough food to eat. When Oliver asks for more gruel, the master responds by aiming “a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle”. This violence is not at all necessary and shows the readers how badly treated Oliver was. Dickens is attempting to say, in Oliver Twist how charity in the 1800’s was a terrible system and how badly treated the poor were.