Research studies

Analysis Of The Main Theme In The Novel-Oliver Twist


Prepared by the researcher  

  • Amna Khairy Abdulla & Arfa Adam Haron & Nadra Magdi Mohammed – Port-Sudan Al-ahlia College – Department of Languages
  • Supervised by: Mr. Ismail Mohamed Abdullah

Democratic Arab Center


The study is dedicated to –  family – Father , Mother –  sister , Brothers – Friends


Thanks for Allah who blessed us with – Finishing this research

Thanks to my great supervisors

Prof. Ali Abdullah

Dr. Nahed Alamin

Mr. Ismail Mohamed

Mr. Tarig Yousif

Who helped us to write this research


The study aims to help and increase the analytical ability in literature, this study is based on the analytical description method, where the researchers used analytical descriptive approach in analyzing the theme of the novel. The researchers recommended – From the positive side of the story. Those who positively and humanly react to the deprived childhood in Oliver Twist. Such as the attitudes of Mr. Brownlow and the Maylies Family, How trauma and misery can produce such gentle and passionate people such as Oliver Twist and Nancy, despite their being victims themselves. The researchers they found events of the novel revolve around the suffering of orphans and the immoral of them by upper class.

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction of childhood

Children in general, and the deprived and orphans in particular face devastating human rights violation since human existence; human history is full of mistreatment, unfairness and discrimination that vulnerable children endure. This research focuses on childhood as a vulnerable stage of life, where the child is completely weak, helpless, dependent, and prone to exploitation and abuse.

No era proved otherwise; human history witnessed horrific tales of child exploitation, particularly orphans, homeless, and poor children.

Unfortunately, since ever, to our recent era; where children rights and child protection laws were enacted, children are still at risk of exploitation and abuse, especially those vulnerable.

The research main aim is to examine childhood in Charles Dicken`s masterpiece novel (Oliver Twist), and focuses primarily on how the novelist handled childhood theme in his novel, during the Victorian era. The novel reflects in the comic and most dramatic approach the situation of poor and homeless children during the Victorian era.

And how they were negatively regarded and brutally treated by the upper class of that time.

In the Victorian era children had been exposed to the typical hardships and responsibilities of adult life.

Literature showed that life for Victorian children at that time (1830 to 1900) varied greatly from childhood in today`s world. For poor Victorian Children life was much different.

They had work to help pay the bills at home.

1.1 Statement of the study

During the Victorian era, it was widely believed by the wealthiest Victorians that the poor only had themselves to blame for their pitiful existence and should not be helped. The very poor were treated like criminals, with nowhere else to go. The children of the poor were not thought to be a blessing, but often a burden on the family. With no laws to protect children, this meant they had few rights and were badly treated.

Dickens portraits in the novel Oliver Twist orphans and abused children in which the orphan is the main character who is innocent, helpless and

often adopted by a wealthy benefactor. Dickens as a critic. Social novelist tries through his novels to criticize and reform the English society.

  • The objectives of the study
  • To find out how Charles Dickens’s portrayed childhood during the Victorian era.
  • The research focus on problems that faced orphaned children in the novel in the Victorian era.
  • Identifying the way the aristocratic society in Victorian are regard and treat the poor and their attitude towards poor children during the Victorian age .
  • The research states that orphans and poor children were usually subjected to abuse and exploitation in the Victorian era.

1.3 Questions of the study

1- To what extent does upper class society in the Victorian era regards the poor?

2- To what extent does the high class society in the Victorian era treat orphans children?

3- To what extant does Charles Dickens handled the story of children in his novel Oliver Twist?

1.4 Hypothesis of the study

  1. The management of the shelter deals with the orphans in a deceptive manners, as it seemed to be kind, while inside the orphanage it was crud and unjust.
  2. Without laws of protection upper class treated them badly and even bought and sold them.
  3. Dickens embodied his personal in the novel for the purpose of protecting children and reforming society.

1.5 The significance of the study

The study is of great value and useful for EFL students who are interested in literature as well as, teachers who teach literature.

1.6 The methodology of the study

The researchers followed descriptive analytical approach.

1.7 The delimitation of the study

The study is limited to the analysis of the themes. The study carried out in the novel Olive Twist in (1837 – London) .

Chapter Two – Literature Review

2.0 Introduction

In this chapter the researchers will present the general idea of the novel Oliver Twist and discuss the theme.

2.1 Definition of children in 18th century

By Tim Lambert

Life for children in the past was hard and dangerous. In the past, many of the children born died before they could grow up. As many as 25% of children died before their fifth birthday. As many as 40% of the people born died before they were 16. Even if they survived life was hard for children. Most did not go to school. Instead, from an early age, they had to help the family by doing some work. Both parents and teachers were very strict and beating naughty children was normal. However, children did have some time to play and enjoy themselves.

2.2 Childhood in the Victorian era

Victorian period, the time of Queen Victoria’s reign (lasting from 1837 to 1901), was the age of vast social and cultural changes, which already began the previous century and continued past the twentieth century. Not only this period meant a progression in scientific fields, new inventions and technologies, but, as it is mainly associated with, started an expansion of the Industrial Revolution which on one side brought wealth to many, but also created masses of working class. Population in cities grew rapidly and by 1900 eighty percent of population lived there Typical feature of this period was strict classification of the society. In the 20s of the nineteenth century the members of ruling elites officially implemented the social classification based on the living conditions, social status as well as the level of morality and gained experience, which in the end spread around the whole country. By the 80s it was very well known who belonged to where and moving from class to class, especially upwards was almost impossible . At the top of this hierarchy was the upper class consisting of aristocrats and gentry. These were rich families who did not have to earn their living or they relied on renting their estates to the others; making up two percent of the society. Younger sons were allowed to learn a profession, supposing it was “gentlemanly” (e.g. high positions in the government, church, law courts, or military. These families ruled the country as they had greatest political power out of all classes and they oftentimes became patrons of local churches, schools and charitable organizations. The middle class in contrast to aristocrats had to work. Those families were of businessmen, doctors or office workers. Members admired the upper class and tried to imitate it “by their houses, forms of entertainment and in their snobbery .It should also be noted that the most changes in attitudes towards children started and happened within this class. Furthermore, it was the middle class, who was the most endeavoring to shape and influence the poor, often thought to be immoral, working class. The working class had the most members among the three and also was the poorest one. There were approximately 2 million families. However, they lacked any political power until 1867, when majority obtained the rights to vote. When Queen Victoria succeeded the throne, the British Monarchy was said to be going through the decline of morals. The society, again mainly middle class, started to highlight an importance of a family and family life for which Queen Victoria with her nine children functioned as a prime and perfect model. Moreover, family life was highly affected by religion, differences in classes and by laws of the era. The ideal family consisted of a head, a breadwinner and as expected, this role was hosted by the man. His wife was in charge of the home and she was presumed to dedicate special attention to their children.The Victorian society did not agree with women working, since that was viewed as an economical success of their fathers or husbands. However, the closest to this ideal were only the middle class families. The working class was usually too poor to solely rely on a man as the breadwinner and many children regardless the gender had to leave for work quite young. The middle and upper class families had enough money to live as they pleased. It was common for both classes to hire their own servants, although the middle class family often had only one. Children in the upper class were usually taken care of by nannies they probably had the closest relationship with. They could often see their parents only at specified time, for example during lunch, only few hours a day. In the middle class family, mainly mothers actually took parenting seriously. With the help of servants doing all the chores, they had the time to do so. During this period the pregnancy alongside with childbirth, although still risky health wise, stopped to be considered an illness and mothers were highly encouraged to breast feed their babies on their own and not to leave it on the wet nurses.

It is said that about eighty to ninety percent of children were breastfed and it might have contributed to the decline in deaths of babies, even though the infant mortality still remained high .Children were expected to be obedient and dutiful and were encouraged to self-denial, self-control, to be pious and not to complain. Even though the families were wealthy, the parents did not wish their children to be spoiled. There was no need for them to starve, yet the families concluded it was beneficial to experience all the possible hardships .Gender differences were strong in the middle and upper classes. The middle class believed that men were suited to the public sphere because of their strength, intelligence, aggressiveness, and independence. Women, on the other hand, belonged in the home, and were weak, emotional, nurturing, passive, and dependent .Inequality was also reflected in the education.Boys went to a boarding school at the age of six or seven, while girls stayed at home under their mother’s surveillance to learn how to take care of the house. Robertson further states that in England the preference of one gender was “often disguised,” especially in big families, but still “boys continued to be favored over girls.”The amount of affection parents displayed to their children is not easy to measure. Both Bušková and Robertson agree that middle class parents were cold and reserved towards their offspring, even though they were thought to be to some extent interested in their well-being, in relation to them being separate individuals with their own special needs and not little adults. Bušková simultaneously describes their relationship as: “Children were supposed to love their parents unconditionally, while parents had to love their children as long as they were obedient.On the other hand, Frost claims that parents, especially mothers, were really affectionate and loving. Hence it is possible to say that what may be now understood and interpreted as loving relationship might not exactly be the same as what parents felt two centuries before, considering the amount of time they supposedly spent together. Additionally, since the boys left for the boarding school early, it was only natural for their relationship to become more distant.In contrast to the other classes, majority of working class families lived in poor conditions, often unsanitary and were struggling with finances. Consequently, they did not have the luxury to hire a maid or to pay attention to their children with such care as the classes above. Some working mothers were able to afford leaving their child with the daily nurse; however, these nurses were not very reliable as they were often drunk or ill.

Women often had to work the same amount of time as their husbands, or even more if their spouse was unemployed. The shortage of money also meant inadequate meals and clothing. Many children were forced to walk without shoes and thick coats were unheard-of, since their family could not afford them. The older siblings were obliged to take care of the younger ones as well as help with house chores, or they had to leave to find work. For these children, it meant the end of their childhood.Mothers were mostly said to have been strict, especially after being exhausted from all the hardships and long work-hours. “Mothers showed their love by providing food and paying the rent every week but seldom with words or tenderness.” (Frost) In addition, the only time they would be tender towards their children was when they fell sick. Otherwise, they would only receive harsh treatment nevertheless the age.If the child labour is being discussed, Victorian era with certainty conjures up at first, although the practice per se was nothing recent. As Cody declares “the displaced working classes, from the seventeenth century on, took it for granted that a family would not be able to support itself if the children were not employed.“ Therefore children as young as five had to work to cater for financial support of their families. On the contrary Bušková argues that majority of children already saved their earned money for their own future.Lucky ones were apprenticed to the trades or worked as domestic servants. However, the number of unfortunate children predominated. “Most prostitutes (and there were thousands in London alone) were between 15 and 22 years of age. Many children worked 16 hour days under atrocious conditions, as their elders did”. In 1802 and 1819 bills were passed to limit children’s work in workhouses and cotton mills to 12 hour per day. In 1833 was accepted that no children younger than nine could work in the textile industry.Otherwise in:Iron and coal mines (where children, again, both boys and girls, began work at age 5, and generally died before they were 25), gas works, shipyards, construction, match factories, nail factories, and the business of chimney sweeping, for, where the exploitation of child labor was more extensive, was to be enforced in all of England. After further radical agitation, another act in 1847 limited both adults and children to ten hours of work daily .“It is no exaggeration to label Victorian sensibilities about infancy and youth a ‘cult of childhood’” (Lewis). The treatment of children started to be taken into the consideration mostly again by middle class families. However, the views they held on their own children vastly differed from their attitudes towards the “factory children or street children, who remained on the margins of consciousness.” (Arscott) These sensibilities therefore seemed to be solely concerning children from the middle class.It is claimed that only after literary writers, such as Dickens or Kingsley dramatized the conditions of children workers, people started to notice there was a problem requiring to be solved. In the 1842 the government report on conditions of children working in mines was published and later in 1851 in Morning Chronicle Mayhew released a report about the children struggling to survive on the streets adding to the concerns about poor children’s well being. However, it is also said that after the reports were revealed, the concerns were caused mostly by the images of half naked children and thus their morality being threatened (Arscott).As already mentioned, nineteenth century was under the influence of Rousseau and his theories which gave birth to the concept of the Romantic child, originally promoted by William Wordsworth (1770–1850) and romantic poets.During Victorian period, two kinds of writers using children as their main characters and reflecting the visions either of the Original Innocence or the Original Sin could be found. The writers supporting the idea of Romantic Child literary described their child heroes “idealistically as superior to adults, as angels on earth sent by heaven to be models of innocence and purity, untouched by the fall into adulthood.” They stood as the contrast to the so-called realistic writers who “figured children as primitive pre-humans, who needed to be moulded through education and experience into beings acceptable to, and accepting of, society’s norms of gender and class expectations” (Wood). They seemed to be following the ideas of John Locke and were, perhaps, still influenced by the puritan ethics. For this thesis, however, only the writers supporting the Romantic Child are of importance as one of the associated authors was Charles Dickens.

2.3 Child Labor

During the Victorian Era, there was an early baby boom, which led to not only an increase in population, but also an advancement of industrialization. The progression of England as a society led to a greater demand for labor from both adults and children. Children took on hard-working jobs as coal miners, chimney sweepers, farm workers and domestic servants. Some children were even forced to take on the role of a railroad worker due to the invention of The Railway brought by the Industrial Revolution Child labor became an overarching issue in the early 1800s due to a lack of effort to improve working conditions by the upper class. Because the government was influenced by the wealthy to invest in luxury rather than promote protection for laborers, many children suffered at work. The most brutal form of child labor took place in coal mines.Children were required to work 12 to 18 hours a day in mines that were infested with rats and disease, and had poor ventilation. Such harsh working conditions led to the development respiratory problems and an increase in mine disasters/casualties. It was not until at least thirty years later when reformers began to take action against child labor. In 1875, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was founded as the first child protective agency in the world. This organization set the tone for social reform and ultimately, saved children from a life of cruelty and hardship.

2-4 Social Classes

The idea of a status hierarchy or “social class” was a distinguishing key feature in the 18th Century. This hierarchy determined everything about society and etched their fate eternally in stone. Among the differences in these classes were the attitudes that each one exhibited. The poor could spend their entire life attempting to move up the social ladder and attain some form of wealth and “class,” but these men and women were ridiculed and pitied for their lack of social graces. No matter the pigeonholes that were set on those of poorer status, there was still a pecking order and sense of loyalty to social superiors. The one way to move up in this time period was to own land. Landowners held power and influence. This made it difficult to move up the social ranks, seeing as how buying land was considered a luxury even in those days.

2.4.1 The Upper class and Wealthy Landowners

This was the most powerful group, which made up the smallest amount of the population. It included the most important of the aristocracy and squires. Gentry This included those who received a high standard of upbringing but were not as important as the upper echelon of wealth. This included: gentlemen, merchants, wealthy tradesmen, and well-off manufacturers.Yeoman were those who owned and worked their own land. They are also better known as “freeholders.”In the Victorian era, the upper class was made up of the Royal family, Lords and Ladies, Earls, Barons, Dukes, Duchesses and other titled people. These people inherited their titles, their homes and their money from other members of their family. They didn’t have to get a job, so to speak, because they just took over the running of the family’s stately home and grounds. The men usually inherited a seat in the House of Lords too, giving them the opportunity to vote on political matters.All upper-class children were educated. Boys went to boarding school from the age of 7, and girls stayed at home to be educated by a governess. The eldest boy then learned how to run the family estate and look after the tenant farmers, and any younger brothers usually landed roles in the army, navy or church. The girls were expected to marry men from similar families and have their children.

2.4.2 The Middle Class

To be middle class in the Victorian era meant that a person became quite rich through their work rather than inherited wealth (like the upper classes). To start with, the middle class was mainly made up of merchants and factory owners. Merchants were men who traded in goods for money. They owned ships which sailed to countries such as India, taking British-made goods and trading them for Indian goods, such as tea, coffee and spices. These commodities were then sold back in Britain, making a profit for the merchant. The merchant was an employer, employing a captain and a crew for his ship, and men to load and unload the boats. This put him on a similar footing to upper class lords who employed tenant farmers to produce corn, wheat, dairy and other produce from the Estate. Meanwhile, factory owners rented or owned the factory and the land surrounding it. They also employed hundreds of people to work for them. Other middle-class jobs included becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a master at a boarding school, a builder, an engineer, a banker or a stockbroker. These well-paid jobs meant that the man was able to buy a nice house with a piece of land. This then made him, and all the others listed above, eligible to vote alongside the upper classes in general elections.

Middle class children were also educated at boarding school and by governesses. The boys were then expected to help run the family business and the girls were expected to make good marriages to men from the middle classes and maybe even the upper classes.So each class system was mainly defined by how much money a person had. The more money someone had, the more opportunities were open to them. But each class system also had its own set of values and rules. As the Victorian era progressed, these rules were bent and eventually broken, and I will talk more about this in another blog post. This post should give you enough information to understand your text’s characters and their position in Victorian society.

2.4.3 The Working Class

This class was made up of the majority of the people in Britain. They earned little money as they were paid only for the hours they worked. The work they did was very physical. The job roles included farm labourer, sailor, fisherman, mine worker, building labourer, docker, factory worker and servant. Women also worked, despite having children, otherwise there was never enough money to feed the family. It was very easy for these people to lose their jobs if they were ill or injured as there was always someone else to fill the role.Working class people had to rent their homes as they never earned enough money to buy them. The size of the home depended upon how much they earned, which is why most working-class people lived in rooms in slum housing, especially those who lived in the cities. This also meant they were never eligible to vote.The children were lucky if they received any education, as most of it had to be paid for, but then education wasn’t deemed necessary for becoming a servant or a miner anyway. Working-class young adults usually married within their class and so the poverty cycle continued.For many years, there were just these two classes, but at the end of the Georgian era, something called “the middling sort” started to grow and became known as the middle class.

2.5 Education

Folks in Britain in 1865 didn`t have the same access to school that many people enjoy today. For that reason, education was a huge marker of social status, and it tended to determine all of your opportunities for the rest of your life.

If you weren`t born with much money, your best shot at climbing the social ladder was to get the best education you could … kind of like today.

2.6 British novel in the 18th century

The novel today is considered one of the most important art forms in the Englishlanguage. This is because it affects grand aspects of the language and is now considered an integral part of the art. However, the rise of the English novel occurred primarily in the 18th century; this does not mean that there was no form of a novel before this time. It only means that there was an increased release of novels and novelists during this period.The English novel is an integral part of English literature It has evolved to date in varied modifications and genres. The novel is a prosaic work of art that deals with the imagination to explore the diverse experiences of humans through interwoven events of a select people and setting.Also, it is a genre of fiction that has been a medium of entertainment, information, or a blend of both. In this light, any fictive art piece that is long enough to be adapted as a book can be said to have achieved “novelhood.”Since the inception of the novel, it has grown to be adapted in forms of romance, thriller, science fiction (sci-fi), historical, picaresque, psychological, gothic, epistolary, the novel of manners, among others.

By this, you can tell that several idiosyncrasies were changed from being accepted as the norm, ranging from European politics, philosophy, communications, and science experience a total upheaval throughout the termed “long 18th century” (1815-1688).

This Age of Reason, also called the Enlightenment bore cutting-edge schools of thought. From thinkers in Britain to France and even throughout Europe. These thinkers began to question the traditional normalcy they were born into and had adopted through their lives. These thinkers tasted the efficacy of rational thinking, logic and knew that their lives and reality as a whole were never going to be the same. They discovered that their lives as humans and others’ lives, in all its vicissitude, can be enhanced through rational thinking.

What Is Enlightenment? the German philosopher summarized the era’s dominance succinctly, as the: ‘Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!’ era. Not only Immanuel Kant’s essay came to thrive, but also an influx of other essays. This era saw the evolution of literature. Also, it gave life to numerous essays, inventions, books, laws, scientific discoveries, revolutions, and wars. The major revolutions, the American and French Revolutions, were influenced by the 18th century. Just like childbirth, a mother goes through all the birth pangs in lieu of the joy she gets to carry through life. The 18th century is symbolic of this because all the rationale behind the chaos finally gave birth to the 19th-century, called The Romantic Era or Romanticism.

2.6.1 History of the English novel in the 18th century

The period where novels were distributed on a large scale and a certain level of demand arose among English readers. This demand is also due to people’s desire for reading about everyday events, events which went on to shape the lives and actions of fictional characters. Some of the earliest novels include Robinson Crusoe and Tom Jones which were respectively written by Daniel Defoe and Henry Fielding.

This century was replete with literature in all its forms – poetry, drama, satire, and novels especially. This period saw the development of the modern novel as a major literary genre. Many novelists who revolutionized the sphere of this literature genre can be dated back to this century. Novelists like: Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur also known as Le Morte Darthur William Baldwin, who authored Beware the CatMargaret Cavendish – The Description of a New World, also called The Blazing-WorldJohn Lyly, Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578), and Euphues and his England (1580)Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s TravelsPhilip Sidney -The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (a.k.a. Arcadia) (1581)Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub published in 1704William Caxton’s translation of Geoffroy de la Tour Landry – The Book of the Knight of the Tower, originally in French and was published in 1483Daniel Defoe -The Consolidator in 1705John Bunyan’s – The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come, published in 1678 Aphra Behn’s – Oroonoko or the Royal Slave was published in 1688.Anonymous, Vertue Rewarded 1693.

the middle class in the 18th century have a direct effect on the rise of novels. David Daiches, a historian said, the novel “was in a large measure the product of the middle class, appealing to middle-class ideals and sensibilities, a patterning of imagined events set against a clearly realized social background and taking its view of what was significant in human behavior from agreed public attitudes.”Another factor responsible is the popularity of newspapers in the 17th century, and the growth of periodicals.

For example, the novel, Pamela by Samuel Richardson was originally intended as a series of letters, but instead, it was made into a novel. The newspapers helped the reading culture among the lower class.The democratic movement that gripped England after the Glorious Revolution of 1689 could also be regarded as one factor that gave rise to the novel in the 18th century. This is because the democratic system emphasized commoners’ stories, who were the subjects in many of the novels written during this period. Also, the novels by Richardson, Sterne, Smollet, and Fielding center around commoners’ lives, rather than that of the ruling class. Conclusively, the rise of realism in the 18th century also affected the growth of the novel.

Factors such as reason, intellect, and satirical spirit were all adopted into the novel form and were principal subjects in the realist movement.The rise of the English novel was affected by a number of factors; one of the most significant is the medieval romance, and the courtly tales of Italy and France. Translations from classical Greek materials also gave to the rise of the English novel.

2.6.2 The Rise of the Middle Class

One thing that stood out for the audience of the 18th-century was how these authors were the regular everyday people. Since the theater as an art form was not available to every member of the population, the novel became succor. The people who made up the novels’ audience were the middle class and those considered to be at the lowest rung of society’s strata. The combination of these classes of people was en masse larger than the upper echelon.

This made these novels reach a larger audience, even those who could not afford a ticket into a theater. It is also important to note that during this period, drama had begun to decline in England. There was a tilt that no longer sated the theatrical audience but seemed to wet the parched thirst of the rapid novel audience. The growth of the English novel can also be attributed to individuals’ need to create something new, something different. The social and intellectual circle longed for something completely new yet individualized. Also, the people wanted stories that mirrored their own lives, stories which had a recognizable nature to theirs, and this need birthed the novel. Furthermore, the rise of the middle class in the 18th century directly affected the rise of novels.

David Daiches, a historian, said, the novel “was in a large measure the product of the middle class, appealing to middle-class ideals and sensibilities, a patterning of imagined events set against a clearly realized social background and taking its view of what was significant in human behavior from agreed public attitudes.”

2.6.3 Factors That Aided the Rise of the English Novel

The etymology of the word ‘novel‘comes from the French word ‘nouvelle,’ which in Italian is novella, that means “new.” Due to the novelty of what this term represented, the word ‘Novel‘ was coined to refer to it. It is an elongated form of fictional narrative written in a prose format. Until the 18th century, the word referred only to shorter fictional forms used to depict love and life in its rawest forms than romance, which was mostly about stories with adventure, laughter, and joy.

The birth of the novel in the 18th century garnered features of old romance and became one of the most preferred literary genres. This dominant genre in English literature became one of the bedrock of budding imaginative writing. The rise of the novel has been daunting – with being about 250 years old in English, the fight for its survival has been prominent. After the challenges faced by the novel to make its mark, it later became a primary source of entertainment in the 19th century. As stated earlier, Robinson Crusoe is one novel that spun the evolution of the English novel to a greater dimension. In line with this, other novels sprouted more confidently, exploring creativity, genres, and themes.

Here we will take a look at some of the factors that further grew the spread of the English novel. Some of these factors are:

Novelty Firstly, apart from the novel being a break from the norm, its novelty attracted a lot of traction. People’s curiosity was peaked; not only that, it delivered a satisfaction of a craving that was hitherto non-existential. The Print Press A second factor responsible is the Print Press. The teeming popularity of newspapers in the 18th century and the growth of periodicals and bulletins gave people something tangible to look forward to. These reads held reforms that were rational even though not yet implemented. By this, there was something new to learn, a cause to propagate, or some pioneer movement to look forward to.

Press with drying newspapers – The growing popularity of the print press in the 18th century played a role in the rise of the English novel. One of the repercussions of the Print Press is the novel Pamela by Samuel Richardson, which was created to be a collection of letters. Still, somehow maturated into the novel, it became eventually. The print press also reduced the price of ink, paper, bookbinding, etc. All these became more affordable as book production became more commercialized. This continuous increase in literacy rates brought about a demand for more written text. Through this, the growth of the reading audience allowed authors to write more novels, and readers better able to read them. This factor significantly led to the English novel’s rise and by this posterity thanks its bequeathed. The newspapers and the varied print media helped the reading culture among the lower class and prepared the soil for the seeds of what the novel brought to the existing society then.

The Glorious Revolution In addition, the democratic movement that gripped England after the Glorious Revolution of 1689 could also be regarded as one of the factors that gave rise to the novel in the 18th century. The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 or Revolution of 1688, is the term mostly used for the events that surrounded the deposition of James II and VII, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the replacement by his daughter Mary II and her Dutch husband, William III of Orange. John Hampden first used this name in late 1689.The Glorious Revolution is a factor that aided the growth of the English novel because the democratic system emphasized the stories of commoners, who were the subjects in many of the novels written during this period. This brought it so close to home and spiked the emotions of the people. The novels of Richardson, Sterne, Smollet, and Fielding center around the life of commoners, rather than that of the ruling class, and very well became a constant among the people.

The Glorious Revolution, took place from 1688 to 1689 in England. It involved the overthrow of the Catholic king James II, who was replaced by his Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch husband, William of Orange. The establishment of the democratic system helped the rise of the English novel.The Middle Class Next, the rise of the middle class. The rise of the middle class as a factor that aided the rise of the English novel can be seen through the growth of the lower class. The middle class was made up of numerous merchants and manufacturers who amassed great fortunes and were able to enlarge their political influence and consequentially increase their social influence. This made a lot of trades more lucrative and dignified. These further gave rise to the middle class. Also, the middle class of the 18th century became quite liberated in their thoughts and began to challenge certain laws that existed. All these changes and supposed chaos gave thought-leaders more to write about. Through these, writers were encouraged to put out information out there, be it biased or unbiased. As a result, the common man whose opinions were regarded highly easily became one of prominence in the society, where he was a part of the upper strata or not. Now that everyone at this level could read and their status quo was vehemently being challenged, the middle class never remained the same.

2.6.4 Characteristic of the English Novel

The eighteenth-century English novel’s main characteristics are the relatable characters from different walks of life, different social strata, settings, and complexity of plots that illustrate how complex life in itself can be. They are usually centered around real-life issues. Unlike the romance novels, the English novels of the 18th century depicted a lot of reason, logical projection of thoughts, and facts. Whatever that propagated idealism was not welcomed or patronized. Just as the people began to question the societal norms, it became evident in their writing. Some novels seek to enlighten, others inform, a generous amount seems to entertain, and there were also those English novels which were a blend of them – just like ‘infotainment.’ The English novels illustrated the rise of the middle class. Therefore, its theme, subject matter, style, characters, and setting took these into consideration. Unlike romance, the characters were not kings, queens, knights, or nobles.Instead, they are created using characters that are the typical everyday middle-class people of many different professions. It was no wonder that readers found the strengths, weaknesses, and travails of these characters quite relatable. The setting and plot of novels also reflect this new focus of realism. The setting became the conventional realistic world we live in, rather than an imaginative kingdom or place. This was a magical aspect of the English novel – every reader at different times, in different places, experiencing a certain reality felt like they mattered. Their voice was being heard, and that they were not alone in their plight. This was how much the readers could see their own times and places in English novels. The middle class further experienced some power that was never experienced before. This was wielded by the power of the pen that was discovered at that time. Whatever that was put on paper was brought to light and could be easily tackled or did cower willingly out of their list of issues just because it was brought to the open. The latter was mostly the case.

2.7 Theme of Oliver Twist

The story Oliver Twist is the masterpiece of Charles Dickens who lived in the 18th century. Although his family lived a poor life, Charles Dickens lived as rich and famous in his lifetime. With Oliver Twist, he wants to make it clear to his readers and the public that in their world they lived in, there were many crimes done by “respectable” people against poor and by poor people against respectable ones. Therefore, the public would be shocked by his this work and it really worked. In Oliver Twist, Bill Sikes is the brutal criminal and he lives a poor life. His crimes always are against the respectable people. There are also Mrs. Mann and Mr. Bumble who are other thieves or criminals in spite of their “respects” in the story. These thieves, criminals, are from different walks of lives but in common, they have the adjective “criminal” for themselves. In the story, Oliver Twist has a hard life. Because, his identity sometimes is changed by careless people and he is left alone in life. The world the story portrays is the crime’s life or its place in our world that is full of criminals and crimes. First of all, thievery is a bad behavior for all of the people. In the novel, the crimes thieves that Bill Sikes commits, who is portrayed as the most brutal one, are against respectable people. Bill has jealousy in himself for the rich people and that is why he wants to make their lives become what they do not want to it to be. For this purpose, he commits crimes but also, he does not want to be like them, a rich person. Because, he believes that rich people are not good so, he wants them to be like him in a way maybe he wants them to suffer because of that they make him a criminal. In the novel, this fact is not directly given but once one think about why a person commits a crime, the answer to that would be because he is poor, he needs what he steals, or the inferiority complex inside of them which comes out from the thoughts of them that they would not be a rich and respectable people like them.

Bill Sikes hates their respectable situation but also hates being respected because of the feelings against them. The other crime committed by Mrs. Mann is not just a crime. It is a pity that she does it against poor. Actually, she has a pity thought for them. She is angry with their families, so she believes she can decrease her sore by behaving in this way. Does she have right to do that? Of course not. It starts when we ask this question. Why? Is she respectable person? Yes. Does she have enough salary; we cannot know that. However, we know that she has something inside her that makes her steal the money that is supposed to be spent for the orphans. Although she can have a normal life and a happy life, she has some problems. These problems may actually be psychological ones. As I mentioned before, she is obsessed with the families of orphans, she is angry with them because they left their children alone. At the end, it is again a crime doing that. Another one who is a criminal in the novel is Mr. Bumble. What does he do? He treats the orphans badly. Charles Dickens, here with the character as Mr. Bumble, criticizes the Victorian era. As known, in this era there is classification among people. People are made to believe that if they have money they would be respected if not they would not. Mr. Bumble, as his character must do its job to represent the class difference, treats the children, orphans, not pitifully but mercilessly. This crime actually is the public’s crime, too. If there is a classification, there it is because the public adopt it. Charles Dickens did not want this difference among people so he created that character and the others as well. These criminals in Oliver Twist, especially Bill Sikes, Mrs. Mann, and Mr. Bumble represent the crime world in the 18th century. Charles Dickens created them for a purpose. It was the intention to make people realize the facts in their lives. These criminals differ from each other according to their purpose of committing crimes. Mrs. Mann has an internal affair against poor so she commits it; also, her aim is to be wealthier. Mr. Bumble is another different character who is guilty in society normally but he represents different thing in the novel. While he is supposed to make the orphans be a useful citizen, he maltreats them as a matter of classification.

Bill Sikes has something special feature in the novel. The crimes he commits are both psychological that concerns the public and sociological that concerns the world. He is a bad man and inside of him, there is an evil. He has no pity inside but jealousy against rich people as well as hate for them. He does everything that may pretend him, or reaching his purpose; as he killed poor Nancy who has pity inside. Nancy has pity for all of the people; but she commits crimes, and steals something just to live, or maybe fear of Bill. Anyway, Bill Sikes has no mercy, which is the last to say. When all is said and done, in the novel “Oliver Twist,” the criminals all represent the classes of criminals in the 18th century. Bill Sikes is the cruelest one and has no feeling and pity in him.

He has just the feeling of jealousy and hate against rich people. He wants to take revenge from them because he believes that he is a criminal because of them. He does not want to be a rich because he knows when he is, he would be also a person that is hated by a criminal who thinks rich people are the responsible for the situation that he is in. apparently he has psychological problems. Mrs. Mann is also a thief. She is really in a pitiful situation because she steals the money of orphans. She is supposed to spend that money to take care of the orphans and to buy clothes and food for them. Maybe because she blames the orphans for they have not good families. Mr. Bumble is just going after his life and he is chasing the “respect.” Overall, Charles Dickens shows us the realities, and the wrongs of the world of that time with these “fantastic” characters.

2.8 The famous writer in 18th century

2-8-1-Charles Dickens:

In full Charles John Huffam Dickens, (born February 7, 1812, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England—died June 9, 1870, Gad’s Hill, near Chatham, Kent).

To many of his contemporaries, Charles Dickens was the greatest writer of his age; a one-man fiction industry who produced fourteen massive novels, and numerous sketches, essays and stories, many of which appeared in the two magazines which he founded and edited. Today the work of one of the first and most successful mass-circulation authors continues to enthrall readers around the world.It looks at the author as a Victorian ‘man of letters’, and explores his cultural and critical impact both on the definition of the novel in the nineteenth century and the subsequent development of the form in the twentieth. Dickens left Portsmouth in infancy. His happiest childhood years were spent in Chatham (1817–22), an area to which he often reverted in his fiction. From 1822 he lived in London, until, in 1860, he moved permanently to a country house, Gad’s Hill, near Chatham. His origins were middle class, if of a newfound and precarious respectability; one grandfather had been a domestic servant, and the other an embezzler. His father, a clerk in the navy pay office, was well paid, but his extravagance and ineptitude often brought the family to financial embarrassment or disaster.

In 1824 the family reached bottom. Charles, the eldest son, had been withdrawn from school and was now set to manual work in a factory, and his father went to prison for debt. These shocks deeply affected Charles. Though abhorring this brief descent into the working class, he began to gain that sympathetic knowledge of its life and privations that informed his writings. Also, the images of the prison and of the lost, oppressed, or bewildered child recur in many novels. Much else in his character and art stemmed from this period, including, as the 20th-century novelist Angus Wilson has argued, his later difficulty, as man and author, in understanding women: this may be traced to his bitter resentment against his mother, who had, he felt, failed disastrously at this time to appreciate his sufferings.His schooling, interrupted and unimpressive, ended at 15. He became a clerk in a solicitor’s office, then a shorthand reporter in the law courts (thus gaining a knowledge of the legal world often used in the novels), and finally, like other members of his family, a parliamentary and newspaper reporter. These years left him with a lasting affection for journalism and contempt both for the law and for Parliament. His coming to manhood in the reformist 1830s, and particularly his working on the Liberal Benthamite Morning Chronicle (1834–36), greatly affected his political outlook.His self-assurance and artistic ambitiousness appeared in Oliver Twist, where he rejected the temptation to repeat the successful Pickwick formula. Though containing much comedy still, Oliver Twist is more centrally concerned with social and moral evil (the workhouse and the criminal world).His many volumes include such works as A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend.

Chapter Three


3.0 Introduction

In this chapter, the researchers presents the methodology they followed in writing this research, as well as the sample he used in collecting information and sources the main research data.

3.1The methodology

The researchers used the descriptive analytical approach.

The researchers used multiple data sets, one approach in historical research approach were the primary source of the research will be the novel itself. And the secondary resources will be the relevant literature works and articles written by scholars about the topic the second approach will be adopted as well, to analyze the novel of childhood theme in Dickens novel.

3.2 Tool of data collection

The researchers used the novel “Oliver Twist” and the internet in collecting data for their research.

  • Sample of the study

The researchers used the novel of Oliver Twist as a sample of the study it has been analyzing the main theme in the novel.

Chapter Four

Finding and Recommendation

4.0 Introduction

In this chapter the researchers will show the finds and recommendations of this study.

4.1 Sample (Chapter 18)
About noon next day, when the Dodger and Master Bates had gone out to pursue the customary avocations, Mr. Fagin took the opportunity of reading Oliver a long lecture on the crying sin of ingratitude; of which he clearly demonstrated he had been guilty, to noordinary extent, in wilfully absenting himself from the society of his anxious friends; and,still more, in endeavouring to escape from them after so much trouble and expense had been incurred in his recovery. Mr. Fagin laid great stress on the fact of his having taken Oliver in, and cherished him, when, without his timely aid, he might have perished with hunger; and he related the dismal and affecting history of ayoung lad whom, in his philanthropy, he had succoured under parallel circumstances, but who, proving unworthy of his confidence and evincing a desire to communicate with the police, had unfortunately come to be hanged at the Old Bailey one morning. Mr. Fagin did not seek to conceal his share in the catastrophe, but lamented with tears in his eyes that the wrong-headed and treacherous behaviour of the young person in question, had rendered it necessary that he should become the victim of certain evidence for the crown: which, if it were not precisely true, was indispensably necessary for the safety of him (Mr. Fagin) and a few select friends. Mr. Fagin concluded by drawing arather disagreeable picture of the discomforts of hanging; and, with great friendliness and politeness of manner, expressed his anxious hopes that he might never be obliged to submit Oliver Twist to that unpleasant operation .Little Oliver’s blood ran cold, as he listened to the Jew’s words, and imperfectly comprehended the dark threats conveyed in them. That it was possible even for justice itself to confound the innocent with the guilty when they were in accidental companionship, he knew already; and that deeply-laid plans for the destruction of inconveniently knowing or over-communicative persons, had been really devised and carried out by the Jew on more occasions than one, he thought by no means unlikely,when he recollected the general nature of the altercations between that gentleman and Mr. Sikes: which seemed to bear reference to some foregone conspiracy of the kind. As he glanced timidly up, and met the Jew’s searching look, he felt that his pale face and trembling limbs were neither unnoticed nor unrelished by that wary old gentleman .The Jew, smiling hideously, patted Oliver on the head, and said, that if he kept himself quiet, and applied himself to business, he saw they would be very good friends yet. Then ,taking his hat, and covering himself with an old patched great-coat, he went out, and locked the room-door behind him .And so Oliver remained all that day, and for the greater part of many subsequent days ,seeing nobody, between early morning and midnight, and left during the long hours to commune with his own thoughts. Which, never failing to revert to his kind friends, and the opinion they must long ago have formed of him, were sad indeed after the lapse of a week or so, the Jew left the room-door unlocked; and he was at liberty to wander about the house. It was a very dirty place. The rooms upstairs had great high wooden chimney-pieces and large doors, with paneled walls and cornices to the ceiling; which, although they were black with neglect and dust, were ornamented in various ways. From all of these tokens Oliver concluded that a long time ago, before the old Jew was born, it had belonged to better people, and had perhaps been quite gay and handsome: dismal and dreary as it looked now. Spiders had built their webs in the angles of the walls and ceilings; and sometimes, when Oliver walked softly into a room, the mice would scamper across the floor, and run back terrified to their holes. With these exceptions, there was neither sight nor sound of any living thing; and often, when it grew dark, and he was tired of wandering from room to room, he would crouch in the corner of the passage by the street-door, to be as near living people as he could; and would remain there, listening and counting the hours, until the Jew or the boys returned. In all the rooms, the moldering shutters were fast closed: the bars which held them were screwed tight into the wood; the only light which was admitted, stealing its way through round holes at the top: which made the rooms more gloomy, and filled them with strange shadows. There was a back-garret window with rusty bars outside, which had no shutter; and out of this, Oliver often gazed with a melancholy face for hours together; but nothing was to be descried from it but a confused and crowded mass of housetops, blackened chimneys, and gable-ends. Sometimes, indeed, a grizzly head might be seen, peering over the parapet-wall of a distant house; but it was quickly withdrawn again; and as the window of Oliver’s observatory was nailed down, and dimmed with the rain and smoke of years, it was as much as he could do to make out the forms of the different objects beyond, without making any attempt to be seen or heard,–which he had as much chance of being, as if he had lived inside the ball of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
One afternoon, the Dodger and Master Bates being engaged out that evening, the first-named young gentleman took it into his head to evince some anxiety regarding the decoration of his person (to do him justice, this was by no means an habitual weakness with him); and, with this end and aim, he condescendingly commanded Oliver to assist
him in his toilet, straightway. Oliver was but too glad to make himself useful; too happy to have some faces, howeverbad, to look upon; too desirous to conciliate those about him when he could honestly do
so; to throw any objection in the way of this proposal. So he at once expressed his readiness; and, kneeling on the floor, while the Dodger sat upon the table so that he could take his foot in his laps, he applied himself to a process which Mr. Dawkins designated as ‘japanning his trotter-cases.’ The phrase, rendered into plain English, signified, cleaning
his boots. Whether it was the sense of freedom and independence which a rational animal may be supposed to feel when he sits on a table in an easy attitude smoking a pipe, swinging one leg carelessly to and fro, and having his boots cleaned all the time, without even the past trouble of having taken them off, or the prospective misery of putting them on, to disturb his reflections; or whether it was the goodness of the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the Dodger, or the mildness of the beer that mollified his thoughts; he was evidently tinctured, for the nonce, with a spice of romance and enthusiasm, foreign to his general nature. He looked down on Oliver, with a thoughtful countenance, for a brief space; and then, raising his head, and heaving a gentle sign, said, half in abstraction, and half to Master Bates:
‘What a pity it is he isn’t a prig!’ ‘Ah!’ said Master Charles Bates; ‘he don’t know what’s good for him.’ The Dodger sighed again, and resumed his pipe: as did Charley Bates. They both smoked, for some seconds, in silence.
‘I suppose you don’t even know what a prig is?’ said the Dodger mournfully. ‘I think I know that,’ replied Oliver, looking up. ‘It’s a the you’re one, are you not?’ inquired Oliver, checking himself.
‘I am,’ replied the Dodger. ‘I’d scorn to be anything else.’ Mr. Dawkins gave his hat ferocious cock, after delivering this sentiment, and looked at Master Bates, as if to denote that he would feel obliged by his saying anything to the contrary. ‘I am,’ repeated the Dodger. ‘Son’s Charley. Son’s Fagin. So’s Sikes. So’s Nancy. So’s Bet. Sowed all are, down to the dog. And he’s the downiest one of the lot! ‘And the least given to peaching,’ added Charley Bates. ‘He wouldn’t so much as bark in a witness-box, for fear of committing himself; no, not if
you tied him up in one, and left him there without wattles for a fortnight,’ said the Dodger. ‘Not a bit of it,’ observed Charley.
‘He’s a rum dog. Don’t he look fierce at any strange cove that laughs or sings when he’s in company!’ pursued the Dodger. ‘Won’t he growl at all, when he hears a fiddle playing?
And  don’t  he hate other dogs as am not of his breed! Oh, no!’
‘He’s an out-and-out Christian,’ said Charley. This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal’s abilities, but it was an appropriate remark in another sense, if Master Bates had only known it; for there are a good many ladies and gentlemen, claiming to be out-and-out Christians, between whom, and Mr. Sikes’ dog, there exist strong and singular points of resemblance .’Well, well,’ said the Dodger, recurring to the point from which they had strayed: with that mindfulness of his profession which influenced all his proceedings. ‘This hasn’t go anything to do with young Green  here  .”No more it has,’ said Charley. ‘Why don’t you put yourself under Fagin, Oliver?’
‘And make your fortune’ out of hand?’ added the Dodger, with a grin. ‘And so be able to retire on your property, and do the gen-teal: as I mean to, in the very next leap-year but four that ever comes, and the forty-second Tuesday in Trinity-week,’ said Charley Bates. ‘I don’t like it,’ rejoined Oliver, timidly; ‘I wish they would let me go. I–I–would rather  go . ”And Fagin would RATHER not!’ rejoined Charley.
Oliver knew this too well; but thinking it might be dangerous to express his feelings more openly, he only sighed, and went on with his boot-cleaning. ‘Go!’ exclaimed the Dodger. ‘Why, where’s your spirit?’ Don’t you take any pride out of  yourself  ? Would you go and be dependent on your friends?’
‘Oh, blow that!’ said Master Bates: drawing two or three silk handkerchiefs from his pocket, and tossing them into a cupboard, ‘that’s too mean; that is.”_I_ couldn’t do it,’ said the Dodger, with an air of haughty disgust. ‘You can leave your friends, though,’ said Oliver with a half-smile; ‘and let them be punished for what you did. ‘That,’ rejoined the Dodger, with a wave of his pipe, ‘That was all out of consideration for Fagin, ’cause the traps know that we work together, and he might have got into trouble if we hadn’t made our lucky; that was the move, wasn’t it, Charley? ‘Master Bates nodded assent, and would have spoken, but the recollection of Oliver’s flight came so suddenly upon him, that the smoke he was inhaling got entangled with a laugh, and went up into his head, and down into his throat: and brought on a fit of coughing and stamping, about five minutes long. ‘Look here!’ said the Dodger, drawing forth a handful of shillings and halfpence. ‘Here’s a jolly life! What’s the odds where it comes from? Here, catch hold; there’s plenty more where they were took from. You won’t, won’t you? Oh, you precious flat! ‘It’s naughty, ain’t it, Oliver?’ inquired Charley Bates. ‘He’ll come to be cragged, won’t he? ‘I don’t know what that means,’ replied Oliver.
‘Something in this way, old feller,’ said Charly. As he said it, Master Bates caught up an end of his neckerchief; and, holding it erect in the air, dropped his head on his shoulder, and jerked a curious sound through his teeth; thereby indicating, by a lively pantomimic representation, that sprigging and hanging were one and the same thing. ‘That’s what it means,’ said Charley. ‘Look how he stares, Jack! I never did see such prime company as that ‘ere boy; he’ll be the death of me, I know he will.’ Master Charley Bates, having laughed heartily again, resumed his pipe with tears in his eyes. ‘You’ve been brought up bad,’ said the Dodger, surveying his boots with much satisfaction when Oliver had polished them. ‘Fagin will make something of you, though, or you’ll be the first he ever had that turned out unprofitable. You’d better begin at once; for you’ll come to the trade long before you think of it; and you’re only losing time ,Oliver .’Master Bates backed this advice with sundry moral admonitions of his own: which, being exhausted, he and his friend Mr. Dawkins launched into a glowing description of the numerous pleasures incidental to the life they led, interspersed with a variety of hints to Oliver that the best thing he could do, would be to secure Fagin’s favor without more delay, by the means which they themselves had employed to gain it.’ And always put this in your pipe, Nolly,’ said the Dodger, as the Jew was heard unlocking the door above, ‘if you don’t take fogless and tickers–‘ ‘What’s the good of talking in that way?’ interposed Master Bates; ‘he don’t know what you mean. ‘If you don’t take pocket-handkerchiefs and watches,’ said the Dodger, reducing his conversation to the level of Oliver’s capacity, ‘some other cove will; so that the coves that lose ‘me will be all the worse, and you’ll be all the worse, too, and nobody half a ha’p’orth the better, except the chaps woot gets them–and you’ve just as good a right to them as they have. ‘To be sure, to be sure!’ said the Jew, who had entered unseen by Oliver. ‘It all lies in nutshell my dear; in a nutshell, take the Dodger’s word for it. Ha! ha! ha! He understands the catechism of his trade. ‘The old man rubbed his hands gleefully together, as he corroborated the Dodger’s reasoning in these terms; and chuckled with delight at his pupil’s proficiency. The conversation proceeded no farther at this time, for the Jew had returned home accompanied by Miss Betsy, and a gentleman whom Oliver had never seen before, but who was accosted by the Dodger as Tom chit ling; and who, having lingered on the stairs to exchange a few gallantries with the lady, now made his appearance .Mr. chit ling was older in years than the Dodger: having perhaps numbered eighteen winters; but there was a degree of deference in his deportment towards that young gentleman which seemed to indicate that he felt himself conscious of a slight inferiority in point of genius and professional acquirements. He had small twinkling eyes, and pock-marked face; wore a fur cap, a dark corduroy jacket, greasy fustian trousers, and an apron. His wardrobe was, in truth, rather out of repair; but he excused himself to the company by stating that his ‘time’ was only out an hour before; and that, in consequence of having worn the regimentals for six weeks past, he had not been able to bestow any attention on his private clothes. Mr. Chilling added, with strong marks of irritation, that the new way of fumigating clothes up yonder was infernal unconstitutional, for it burnt holes in them, and there was no remedy against the County. The same remark he considered to apply to the regulation mode of cutting the hair: which he held to be decidedly unlawful. Mr. Chilling wound up his observations by stating that he had not touched a drop of anything for forty-two moral long hard-working days; and that he ‘wished he might be busted if he wasn’t as dry as a lime-basket. ‘Where do you think the gentleman has come from, Oliver?’ inquired the Jew, with a grin, as the other boys put a bottle of spirits on the table. ‘I don’t know, sir,’ replied Oliver.
‘Who’s that?’ inquired Tom Chilling, casting a contemptuous look at Oliver. ‘A young friend of mine, my dear,’ replied the Jew. ‘He’s in luck, then,’ said the young man, with a meaning look at Fagin. ‘Never mind where came from, young ‘un; you’ll find your way there, soon enough, I’ll bet a crown!’

At this sally, the boys laughed. After some more jokes on the same subject, they exchanged a few short whispers with Fagin; and withdrew. After some words apart between the last comer and Fagin, they drew their chairs towards the fire; and the Jew, telling Oliver to come and sit by him, led the conversation to the topics most calculated to interest his hearers. These were, the great advantages of the trade, the proficiency of the Dodger, the amiability of Charley Bates, and the liberality of the Jew himself. At length these subjects displayed signs of being thoroughly exhausted; and Mr. Chilling did the same: for the house of correction becomes fatiguing after a week or two. Miss Betsy accordingly withdrew; and left the party to their repose. From this day, Oliver was seldom left alone; but was placed in almost constant communication with the two boys, who played the old game with the Jew every day: whether for their own improvement or Oliver’s, Mr. Fagin best knew. At other times the old man would tell them stories of robberies he had committed in his younger days: mixed up with so much that was droll and curious, that Oliver could not help laughing
heartily, and showing that he was amused in spite of all his better feelings. In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. Having prepared his mind, by solitude and gloom, to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such adreary place, he was now slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it, and change its hue forever.

4.2 Analysis                                   

Charles Dickens’ writing reflect his extraordinary gift of observance.

Not many novelists can accomplish what the author has managed to achieve in his book. He has capacity to lay out images of things and people in a manner that the ordinary human being would not envisage.

Dickens’ writings integrate what he observe with what he remembers and imagines. Seldom does one miss even the most trivial of details in his work, it is these trivializes that bring out his work. It is these trivialities that bring out his most critical strength in literature.

The capacity to describe vividly probably stemmed from dickens’ attention to detail even in his real life, in letter that he wrote to his colleagues.

The researchers have exerted a considerable time effort to find what scholars wrote about the topic of the research, they did perceived that a few researches handled the childhood theme from a different scopes such as Katerina Pekarova, in her thesis (The Theme of Childhood in Oliver Twist) that show cases differences in perception and attitudes towards children among societal and treatment they received in the novel. Where both researches agreed upon the child abuse within that time.  And because childhood is always a very special phase of everyone`s life.

4.2.1 Plot

Fagin chastised Oliver the next day and locked him back in his room for a few more days.  After that period of time passed, he was allowed to wander around the house by himself when no one was home all day with nothing to do but think.  One night, Dodger asked Oliver to shine his shoes for him, and happy to have company, he consented. While doing so, Oliver listened as they tried to convince him to learn all he could from Fagin about theft, because it was a good profession for him.  Fagin heard them speaking thus, and gave his own speech to them all including a new thief that had come in, Tom Chitling. From that day forward, Oliver was not left alone and was thankful for it. Instead, Fagin was slowly teaching him the ways of thievery by training him that their black company was still better than being completely alone.


Charles Dickens is considered by many not only a great English novelist, but also one of the most important social commentators who used fiction in his novels to criticize both social and moral abuses in Victorian England. Dickens also showed empathy and compassion towards those belonging to the English society and considered vulnerable. According to Dutta, Dickens’ novels are a reliable portrait of the childhood of a considerable number of Victorian children, most of them orphans. It is also important to mention that the characters in the novels represent the real life of children of the Victorian Era. As Dutta states, these characters could be a reflection of Dickens’ childhood, since many of the experiences that the author underwent when being a child, such as child labor, can be seen in the novels. Furthermore, it has been argued that Dickens’ writings focused on the sad faces of children and the cold hearts of adults. In his writings, the author also shows us how a warm heart could be the cure for the pain caused by the indifference of society.

These  novels consist of a social criticism that calls for reform at several levels of society.

4.2.3 Characters

Oliver Twist

The novel’s protagonist. Oliver is an orphan born in a workhouse, and Dickens uses his situation to criticize public policy toward the poor in 1830s England. Oliver is between nine and twelve years old when the main action of the novel occurs. Though treated with cruelty and surrounded by coarseness for most of his life, he is a pious, innocent child, and his charms draw the attention of several wealthy benefactors. His true identity is the central mystery of the novel.

Mr. Brownlow

A well-off, erudite gentleman who serves as Oliver’s first benefactor. Mr. Brownlow owns a portrait of Agnes Fleming and was engaged to Mr. Leeford’s sister when she died. Throughout the novel, he behaves with compassion and common sense and emerges as a natural leader.

Mrs. Maylie

A kind, wealthy older woman, the mother of Harry Maylie and adoptive “aunt” of Rose.


A young prostitute and one of Fagin’s former child pickpockets. Nancy is also Bill Sikes’s lover. Her love for Sikes and her sense of moral decency come into conflict when Sikes abuses Oliver. Despite her criminal lifestyle, she is among the noblest characters in the novel. In effect, she gives her life for Oliver when Sikes murders her for revealing Monks’s plots.


A conniving career criminal. Fagin takes in homeless children and trains them to pick pockets for him. He is also a buyer of other people’s stolen goods. He rarely commits crimes himself, preferring to employ others to commit them—and often suffer legal retribution—in his place. Dickens’s portrait of Fagin displays the influence of anti-Semitic stereotypes.


A sickly, vicious young man, prone to violent fits and teeming with inexplicable hatred. With Fagin, he schemes to give Oliver a bad reputation.

Bill Sikes

A brutal professional burglar brought up in Fagin’s gang. Sikes is Nancy’s pimp and lover, and he treats both her and his dog Bull’s-eye with an odd combination of cruelty and grudging affection. His murder of Nancy is the most heinous of the many crimes that occur in the novel.

Mr. Bumble

The pompous, self-important beadle—a minor church official—for the workhouse where Oliver is born. Though Mr. Bumble preaches Christian morality, he behaves without compassion toward the paupers under his care. Dickens mercilessly satirizes his self-righteousness, greed, hypocrisy, and folly, of which his name is an obvious symbol.

Chapter Five

5.1 Discussion

The theme of unhappy childhood is deeply rooted in Dickens works, his First three novels reflect miserable childhood represented in the Adventures of his characters such as Pickwick (1836), Oliver Twist (1837) and Nicolas Nickleby (1838). This scheme is well noticed in Oliver Twist, Dickens’ most famous character Oliver Twist. The young protagonist experienced hunger, isolation and abuse, in such dramatic Way that reflects the miseries of the Victorian era, uncovering the dilemma of children harmed and exploited by adults. Charles Dickens personal experience as a child has produced unusual characters, in touch with social and moral misery, which till today feed the imagination of children and adults. It was adapted several times to cinema in recent years, this social novel contributed greatly to the Dickens fame .His genuine feeling and powerful words inspired hundreds of film makers, and musicians. Charles Dickens wrote about the homeless and street children in his novel Oliver Twist. In this novel, Dickens condemns the bitter effects of industrialization on the 19th century’s England. The book attracts people attention to various contemporary social evils, including the Poor’ asylum where the poor have to work, child labor and the recruitment of children as criminals. (Devi, 2016)Dickens often depicted the exploitation and repression of the poor and condemned public officials and institutions that not only allowed such abuses to exist, but flourished as a result. Oliver Twist is the main novel character that symbolizes childhood, innocence and purity that resisted evil deeds and tightly adhered to this purity.

5.2 Finding

The research had come to the following findings:

  • It is apparent that poor and orphan children are definitely endured the worst type of exploitation during the Victorian era due the industrial expansion and the greediness of business owners and landlords that makes life difficult and expensive for the poor families.
  • There have been an increasing numbers of homeless children, who lost result confirmed by what Maria Eklund finds out in her research.
  • However, law makers make life ever harsher for those vulnerable children by introducing amendments to the law for the poor that worsen the situation of the poor, and subjected them to further sufferings and exploitation.
  • The new poor law ensured that the poor were housed in workhouses, clothed and fed. Children who entered the workhouse paupers would have to work for several hours each day.

5.3 Recommendation

  1. From the positive side of the story. Those who positively and humanly react to the deprived childhood in Oliver Twist. Such as the attitudes of Mr. Brownlow and the Maylies Family.
  2. How trauma and misery can produce such gentle and passionate people such as Oliver Twist and Nancy, despite their being victims themselves.
  3. Students should read all the works of Charles Dickens which are interesting and entertainment that treats social problems .

References and sources

1- Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist

2- www.victorian

3- /default/files/11002%2020161.pdf .



6- https://www.scientific-editing.



9-pekarova , Katerina ,The Theme of Childhood in Oliver Twist, 10 , Bachelor Thesis ,MASARYK UNIVERSITY, 2014 .



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