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Minggu, 05 Agustus 2012

Oliver Twist Analysis

By: Charles Dickens

1.      SUMMARY
Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse in a provincial town. His mother has been found very sick in the street, and she gives birth to Oliver just before she dies and he is sent to an orphanage. Oliver is raised under the care of Mrs. Mann and the beadle Mr. Bumble in the workhouse. Around the time of Oliver's ninth birthday, Mr. Bumble, a parish beadle, removes Oliver from the baby farm and puts him to work picking oakum at the main workhouse. Oliver, who toils with very little food, remains in the workhouse for six months. When it falls to Oliver’s lot to ask for more food on behalf of all the starving children in the workhouse, he is trashed, and then apprenticed to an undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. However, Mr. Sowerberry is in an unhappy marriage, and his wife takes an immediate dislike to Oliver primarily because her husband seems to like him and loses few opportunities to underfeed and mistreat him. Another apprentice of Mr. Sowerberry’s, Noah Claypole insults Oliver’s dead mother and the small and frail Oliver attacks him.
However, Oliver is punished severely, and he runs away to London. Here he is picked up by Jack Dawkins or the Artful Dodger as he is called. The Artful Dodger is a member of the Jew Fagin’s gang of boys. Fagin has trained the boys to become pickpockets. The Artful Dodger takes Oliver to Fagin’s den in the London slums, and Oliver, who innocently does not understand that he is among criminals, becomes one of Fagin’s boys. When Oliver is sent out with The Artful Dodger and another boy on a pickpocket expedition Oliver is so shocked when he realizes what is going on that he and not the two other boys are caught. Fortunately, the victim of the thieves, the old benevolent gentleman, Mr. Brownlow rescues Oliver from arrest and brings him to his house, where the housekeeper, Mrs. Bedwin nurses him back to life after he had fallen sick, and for the first time in his life he is happy.
However, with the help of the brutal murderer Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy Fagin kidnaps Oliver. Fagin is prompted to do this by the mysterious Mr. Monks. Oliver is taken along on a burglary expedition in the country. The thieves are discovered in the house of Mrs. Maylie and her adopted niece, Rose, and Oliver is shot and wounded. Sikes escapes. Rose and Mrs. Maylie nurse the wounded Oliver. When he tells them his story they believe him, and he settles with them. While living with Rose and Mrs. Maylie Oliver one day sees Fagin and Monks looking at him in through a window. Nancy discovers that Monks is plotting against Oliver for some reason, bribing Fagin to corrupt his innocence.
Nancy also learns that there is some kind of connection between Rose and Oliver; but after having told Rose’s adviser and friend Dr. Losberne about it on the steps of London Bridge, she is discovered by Noah Claypole, who in the meantime has become a member of Fagin’s gang, and Sykes murders her. On his frantic flight away from the crime Sykes accidentally and dramatically hangs himself. Fagin and the rest of the gang are arrested. Fagin is executed after Oliver has visited him in the condemned cell in Newgate Prison. The Artful Dodger is transported after a court scene in which he eloquently defends himself and his class.
Monks’ plot against Oliver is disclosed by Mr. Brownlow. Monks is Oliver’s half-brother seeking all of the inheritance for himself. Oliver’s father’s will states that he will leave money to Oliver on the condition that his reputation is clean. Oliver’s dead mother and Rose were sisters. Monks receives his share of the inheritance and goes away to America. He dies in prison there, and Oliver is adopted by Mr. Brownlow. On the eve of his hanging, in an emotional scene, Oliver, accompanied by Mr. Brownlow, goes to visit the old reprobate in Newgate Gaol, where Fagin's terror at being hanged has caused him to come down with fever. As Mr. Brownlow and Oliver leave the prison, Fagin screams in terror and despair as a crowd gathers to see his hanging.
On a happier note, Rose Maylie turns out to be the long-lost sister of Agnes; she is therefore Oliver's aunt. She marries her long-time sweetheart Harry, and Oliver lives happily with his saviour, Mr. Brownlow. Noah becomes a paid, semi-professional informer to the police. The Bumbles lose their jobs and are reduced to great poverty, eventually ending up in the same workhouse where they originally had lorded it over Oliver and the other boys; and Charley Bates, horrified by Sikes's murder of Nancy, becomes an honest citizen, moves to the country, and works his way up to prosperity.
  1. Oliver Twist: He is the main character, and a protagonist. A dear, grateful, gentle child, innocent and a strong child. Although he did a crime but he was a kind person, patient, and never give up face his hard life.
  2. Mrs. Mann: She has charge of the infant Oliver, is not the most motherly of women.
  3. Mr. Bumble: He despite his impressive sense of his own dignity. She keeps for herself most of the money allotted by the parish for the care of the orphans, and neglects them rather steadily.
  4. Mrs. Sowerberry: She is perpetual scowl and a cruel woman who has a strong dislike for Oliver, and treats him accordingly.
  5. Mr. Sowerberry: His profession as an undertaker and he is very kind to Oliver.
  6. Monks: He is a sickly, vicious young man, prone to violent fits and teeming with inexplicable hatred. With Fagin, he schemes to give Oliver a bad reputation.
  7. Mr. Brownlow: He is a well-off, erudite gentleman who serves as Oliver’s first benefactor. He behaves with compassion and common sense and emerges as a natural leader. He takes a liking to Oliver even after suspecting him of stealing his handkerchief, and takes him in, doing everything he can to help him.
  8. Nancy: She display much ambivalence. she is a full-fledged criminal, she retains enough empathy to repent her role in Oliver's kidnapping, and to take steps to try to atone. She is a kind girl.
  9. Bill Sikes: He is a brutal professional burglar brought up in Fagin’s gang. Sikes is Nancy's pimp and lover.
  10. Fagin: He is 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.
  11. Rose Maylie: She is Mrs. Maylie’s niece, a beautiful seventeen-year-old woman, who is both intelligent and perfectly kind. She is an orphan.
  1. Dickens sets Oliver Twist in early nineteenth-century England, a time when long-held ideas and beliefs came under serious scrutiny. Profound changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution, religious uncertainty, scientific advancement, and political and social upheaval caused many Victorians to reexamine many aspects of their society and culture.
  2. London is a country where Oliver ran away from Sowerberry’s family and a place which used to spent his life after ran away from Sowerberry’s family.

In my opinion the most impressing part is when Oliver never give up to face his hard life in his childhood and he was a strong child. It is interesting for me because in this 21st century there are many spoiled children and they do not want work hard to get what they want. They always complain if they meet something hard and they always complain before they try to do, so many of them become pessimistic child. Different with Oliver who should do many things to keep alive and never give up, and he must be strong to face his hard life, so that he can escape of it. It is an important lesson for children in this 21st century. Not only for children but also for all people, this is an important lesson that we should not be give up to face our hard life, but we should try anything to solve our problem whatever that is a serious problem.

5.      THE THEME
  1. Society and Class, it is one of the central themes of most of Dickens’s novels. In Oliver Twist, Dickens often shows how superficial class structures really are – at the core, everyone’s really the same, regardless of the social class into which they’re born. Dickens also exposes how callous and uncaring Victorian society was – folks just ignored the plight of the less fortunate because they were so self-satisfied, and so convinced that the systems they had in place to take care of the poor were the best and most humane systems possible.
  2. Criminality, Crime was a huge problem in London in the 1830s, when Dickens was writing, just as it is now. He wanted to show how criminals really lived, in order to discourage poor people from turning to crime. Dickens also wanted to show how external influences created criminal behavior as much or more than natural criminal urges.
  3. Contrasting regions, London  itself is condemned, almost as much as the institutions of religion and justice, for helping to create criminals and oppress the poor. Because of this, the city gets personified numerous times – it’s always easier to blame a person than an inanimate city.
  4. Religion, Dickens was Anglican himself, but he felt like the Church was too impersonal and institutionalized, and didn’t do enough to take care of the poor and miserable folks who turned to the Church for help. The whole parish system was responsible for maintaining workhouses, orphanages, and baby farms, and Dickens thought that the whole system was inhumane and just stunk to high heaven.
  5. Fate and Free Will, some characters in this novel are liberated and live happily ever after. Others aren’t able to escape the "labyrinth" that the city, their social class, and the systems of justice and religion seem to have created. Certain characters seem to give up their free will at certain points, and to abandon themselves to a kind of bizarre fatalism. Dickens wants to show how external influences turn people into criminals, the emphasis on fate in Oliver Twist seems to undermine that idea.

  • We should be patient and do not give up when we face hard life.
  • We should try anything to solve our problem and do not complain before we try.
  • Do not be spoiled person.
  • We should teach our child to be strong child, not spoiled child, and never give up.

7.      COMMENT
This is a good story for us. It shows us the strong child, a child can be patient and never give up when he face a hard life. He did anything to solve his problem. And he tried anything to made his life better. It is also good story and good lesson for children, because in this story shows that was a poor child but strong and not spoiled, he always patient with his bad condition since his childhood. Children in this 21st century can learn a life lesson from Oliver, and do not always complain when they meet a problem or a bad condition in their life.

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