Oliver Twist and the Victorian Era

Oliver Twist and the Victorian Era - Oliver Twist and the...

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Oliver Twist and the Victorian Era Introduction The novel, Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens draws many parallels to the Victorian Era. Charles Dickens, was one of the main writers to emerge from the Victorian Era. Dickens style and understanding of the period, allow Chesterton to believe that he is “Victorians king of literature.” (236). Oliver Twist is a perfect example on how Dickens uses his great skill. In Oliver Twist, young Oliver is an illustration of the harshness that is evident during this time. The treatment of adolescence, child labor, British Laws, and British society all are examples of the Victorian Era that Dickens makes reference to in Oliver Twist. Even through the reality to the time, Oliver is still able to find happiness. Dickens Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812, in Portsea on the south coast of England. Dickens family was of the lower middle class. John Dickens his father, was a clerk in the navy pay office. “In 1814 John Dickens was transferred to London for a tour of duty of unknown duration. By 1817 the family was established in Chatham near the naval dockyard.” (Allen 23) From there on came the happy years of Dickens childhood. Young Dickens received his first education from his mother and later attended regular schools in Chatham. He soon became intimate with his father’s small collection of literary classics. (Allen 34) Dickens also revealed early signs of being a genius. John Dickens was delighted in his son’s exhibiting talents, “… thus reinforcing the nudgings of young ambition.” (Johnson 10) But, the pleasant times came to end in 1822 when John Dickens was ordered back to London. The now older Dickens’ improvident fondness for convivial living had by then got him into financial straits from which he could not extricate himself, and the situation was alarmingly precarious. Mrs. Dickens made a feeble and foolhardy attempt to conduct a school to augment the family resources but only succeeded in further diminishing them. (Forster 13) To lessen the strain, Dicken’s was put to work in a blacking warehouse at minimal wages. Two weeks afterward, his father was incarcerated in a debtor’s prison, where the whole family joined him. During the incarceration, Dickens had irregular relations with his family. The next six months were a painful ordeal to the family. In addition to the labor, Dickens endured the indignities of malnutrition, indecent housing, and the hostile living companions. This was a humiliating time that left an incredulous impression on the proud and sensitive
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Dickens. (Allen 49) We know this because of Dicken’s later novel David Copperfield. It is likely that the implication and consequences of poverty were instrumental in shaping the patter of his life. Dickens became distinguished by furious energy, determination to succeed, and an inflexible will, said Allen. (52) After his father’s had been imprison for months, his mother passed away. “The legacy that he received was sufficient to effect his release and to relieve his
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This note was uploaded on 01/09/2011 for the course EDS 103 taught by Professor White during the Spring '10 term at E. Kentucky.

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Oliver Twist and the Victorian Era - Oliver Twist and the...

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