Oliver Twist is a great book written by Charles Dickens. This book has an interesting plot and timeless appeal. The story revolves around an orphan name Oliver Twist, whose mother died giving birth to him.
As an Social reformer, Charles Dickens spread light on the prevalent social issue. The issue class difference, exploitation of the poor and of child labour. The rich remained rich and snobbish, while the poor suffered. The society would determine the fate of the people. There were no scopes for the poor to rise and prosper.
This even look on the sordid lives of the criminals and the criminal practice of the Victorian Era. This book review of Oliver Twist contains a summary of the plot as well as thoughts on the overall novel.
Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse but his mother was died when Oliver was very little. This young man grew up in an orphanage where he got his name. A gentle man named Mr. Bumble took him away from the orphanage and put him to work. At the workhouse, his job was to pick and weave oakum. Child labour was not uncommon back in that time, so it wasn’t too surprising to see him and other orphans working all day for the benefit of the ruling class with receiving little to no pay, extorted, overworked and starving. Oliver was nine years of age at that time. Later he was sold to a coffin maker named Mr. Sowerberry as an apprentice by Mr. Bumble later on. Mrs. Sowerberry had a dominating and manipulative personality and Oliver wasn’t shown affection or care by her even though he was a mere child, he was only seen as the house help. But he tried to fled from there but he was caught by Mr. Sowerberry and got punished by him. After arriving in London, he met the ‘Artful Dodger’. He happens to be part of a young boys’ pickpocket gang led by, Fagin, an aged criminal. Oliver’s trusting and innocent nature failed find any of his actions dishonest. He was taken to Fagin by the pickpocket. Fagin is a complex character; even though he’s a criminal, he empathizes and nurtures the young kids while training them to become expert pickpockets. Oliver stayed with the pick pocketer because he didn’t aware about what they are doing but when he understand what are they doing that time he left the place. From an old man called Mr. Bronlow, Bates and Dodger steal a handkerchief. When he noticed, however, young Oliver caught his eye and he suspected him of theft. Trying to run away out of fright, he got caught and taken to the magistrate. But seeing his innocent face and nature, Mr. Brownlow doubted the fact that it was him who was the thief. The owner of the bookshop where the incident of theft took place, cleared the confusion as he explained that it wasn’t Oliver who was the thief. Fagin, fearing that Oliver might disclose their wrongdoings to the police, wanted Oliver back in his lair. So, when Oliver was sent on a duty to pay for the books, Nancy and Bill Sikes – both working alongside Fagin, put on a successful act to capture and bring him back. To re-involve Oliver in criminal activities, Sikes planned a burglary and threatened to take his life unless he cooperates. He was then taken to a house, asked to open the lock of the main door before being pushed into a small window to enter the house. By this description reader can understand about Oliver identity when a mysterious man named monk appears.
Edward Leeford was the father of Monks and Oliver. He fell in love with Agnes, Oliver’s mother, after he had separated from Monks’ mother. Later on, Mrs. Rose Mayliewas revealed to be Agnes’ sister thus being Oliver’s aunt. Nancy, being protective of Oliver, went on to meet them at the London Bridge and told everything to Mrs. Rose Maylie and Mr. Brownlow about Monks’ plan and gave them an idea on how to save Oliver from Fagin, Monks and Sikes’ hand. Later on, the news of Nancy’s murder spread across London and Sikes along with the criminal coach Fagin were wanted for their crimes. Fagin got arrested and sentenced to death by execution. Mr. Brownlow confronted Monks about his plot against Oliver and decided to give him a second chance. When asked, Oliver happily agrees to give Monks half of his inheritance. Oliver Twist was adopted by Mr. Brownlow and was given love and care as well as a promise to live a proper life. Dodger was convicted with a punishment of transportation to Australia, Charlie Bates became an honest citizen and Noah became a semi-professional police informer.
In this book review, we would like to conclude that Oliver Twist is a true Dickens classic. The social novel – ‘Oliver Twist’ was one of Dickens’ early writings where he satirizes the hypocrisies of his time. The story shows how strong of an influence environment can have on a person’s life and how it is possible to overlook and overcome these influences.