Oliver Twist

by Charles Dickens

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One Of The Greatest Novels By Dickens About Poverty, Child Labour, Social Injustice And Industrialism. Download Oliver Twist, READ online FREE or buy:

This is the 2nd novel in Charles Dickens’s roster and, without a doubt, one of his greatest works. It first saw the light of day back in 1837. Just as any other story by the legendary writer, it was published in a serialized form. It took two years of monthly publications to release every single chapter.

This novel is not a “regular” Dickens story: it’s extremely realistic and doesn’t paint any rainbows over the harsh reality of the life of a criminal child in the XIX century. Furthermore, the author focused a lot on the horrible treatment of the numerous orphan kids in the capital of the UK. He did a great job of exposing the truth to the people.

Charles Dickens scolded the hypocrisies that followed him on every step of the way. Child labor is a terrifying page in history, and this writer was one of the first ones who talked about it in an open manner. The little ones were being hired (or, rather, recruited) as criminals, and the so-called “street children” were always mistreated.

Oliver Twist Summary

Some critics claim that Dickens was inspired by the life of Mr. Blincoe, an orphan boy who used to be work at a cotton mill when he was just a little boy. His touching story was widely known in early XIX century. Others presume that the author used his own experiences as a young man and put some of his observations as a child worker into the novel.

The tale is centered on Oliver, a boy who was unlucky enough to be born in a workhouse and then “sold” into discipleship with a funeral director. However, eventually, the kid managed to run away and find his way to London and be happy at the end of the journey.

Growing up, the only thing the boy knew was poverty. Misfortune followed him on every step of the way and he had to adapt to the harsh reality around him to survive. His mother passed away when giving birth to him. His dad was nowhere to be found. So, the government made him a part of the Poor Law program and put him in a baby farm for 9 straight years.

Surviving Against All Odds

There wasn’t enough food, clothes or comfort at the farm, but it was better than nothing. After the chap turned 9, they took him away to work at the local workhouse. With almost no food and horrifying conditions, he only lasted for 6 months. Oliver knew that he couldn’t carry on like that anymore.

So, all the boys on the workhouse decided to play a game – draw lots. They were extremely hungry and that was the only option. The loser had to go to the elders and ask for more gruel. Oliver lost the game and did what he had to the next day. With a trembling voice, he approached Mr. Bumble and said he wants some more food.

Next, the men who ruled the workhouse offered 5 pounds to any gentleman who would like to take Oliver as a servant. He ended up being picked by Mr. Sowerberry. He turned out to be a kind person and treated the boy way better. However, his wife became jealous of Oliver and didn’t miss a single opportunity to mistreat him.

An Orphan Boy Against The World

Noah, another boy-servant at the man’s house, envious of his promotions, insulted Oliver’s dead mom, leaving him no choice but to retaliate. Noah was much bigger and stronger, but that didn’t stop Oliver from hitting him.

Unfortunately, the wife took his enemy’s side and helped Noah beat the poor kid. Later, she managed to persuade her husband to beat the boy again. That night, Oliver cried like never before and decided to leave the house and head toward the capital, hoping to find a place he belonged there.

Oliver had no family and no friends, nobody to take care of him or to keep him away from trouble. All he knew in life was injustice and hard work. He was constantly being mistreated by every single person around him, and that nightmare had to end. Otherwise, he might just go crazy or kill himself.

Charles Dickens used his own life lessons as a little boy to create one of the most touching, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking characters ever. He didn’t try to make everything look worse than it was. Oliver Twist is the story of just another abused boy living in the United Kingdom in the 19th century – nothing more, nothing less.

Oliver Twist Themes

The true calling of any writer is to be a social hero, a freedom fighter and an advocate for the less fortunate ones. Dickens is known for creating funny and even ridiculous characters and writing about insignificant stuff that can get you bored in no time. Yet, when he talks about injustice, you can almost feel like he’s standing right there next to you.

In this novel, Dickens uses realism with his trademark satire to deliver a clear picture of the Industrialized England in the XIX century. He was against the barbaric Poor Laws and did a lot to make sure people knew about its true meaning. Oliver was just an innocent boy, but the evil world that he was born into forced him to be a part of the “system”.

The terrifying workhouse and the life of a criminal were the only options on the table for him. At the same time, despite the harsh reality of life, Dickens still had hope for the mistreated kids of his time and turned Oliver Twist into something of a fairy tale. The boy managed to survive through corruption, brutality, evil, abuse, and still remain a person with a good, loving, caring heart.

He’s a strong young man and doesn’t give in to the evil that consumes every single person around him. At the end of the story, he does get his ultimate reward – a calm, peaceful life with people that love and respect him for who he is and don’t want to exploit him. This novel shows that even the outcasts can find true happiness if they believe in it.

Charles Dickens’s Crusade Against Poverty And Social Inequality

The theme of poverty plays a major role in this book. Dickens used his exceptional writing skills to describe the poor state of the slums. Families had to squeeze themselves into one tiny room to survive. This pervasive state of misery made the boy’s occasional encounters with unconditional love extremely poignant.

If not for the random kindness, Oliver would’ve never made it. The unbelievable scale of poverty described in the novel was intended for the writer’s fans from the middle-class who had no idea that so many people in London were prisoners to poverty and diseases.

Resilience and a tough spirit are the only things that helped Oliver endure the torment on his life path. He most certainly doesn’t belong in a workhouse or in the slums. At the same time, most of the people he comes across do deserve their fate.

Noah and the majority of the boys are not pure of heart and seek only personal gain. People from the middle class, including Mrs. Sowerberry, are probably even worth. Dickens wasn’t afraid to show them for who they truly were and wasn’t quick to draw a black-and-white picture like in his other novels where the poor folks are pure angels while the rich ones are just a bunch monsters.

Oliver Twist Movie, TV And Stage Adaptations

As one of the finest novels by the legendary freedom-fighter/writer, Oliver Twist has numerous adaptations. The very first movie based on the story came out back in 1909. It was a silent movie. The next four film adaptations saw the light of day in ’12, ’16, ’19, and ’22. The very first sound edition was released in 1933.

The first TV movie was broadcasted in 1982. The movie cast featured Charles as Oliver, the main character, and Scott as Fagin, the criminal. In 2005, the famous director Roman Polanski made his own version of the legendary novel. As for the TV series, there are three in total (1985, 1999 and 2007 respectively).

Oliver! is probably the most popular musical inspired by Oliver Twist. It was loosely based on the boy’s life journey and received international praise. An adaptation that hit the theaters in ’68 was the first one shot in color.

Of all the big-screen versions, it is most certainly the best one. It’s worth mentioning that two movies that came out in 1996 and 2003 were gay-themed. So, as you can see, there are more than enough adaptations of Dickens’s great tale.

 

 

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