Premium Essay

Oliver Twist

In: Historical Events

Submitted By amaliehauge
Words 1573
Pages 7
Finally identified, the real Oliver Twist workhouse reveals stories more brutal than even Dickens dared tell
By Dr Ruth Richardson
UPDATED:11:49 GMT, 25 March 2011

Please sir: Oliver Twist brought home the harsh realities of life in the workhouse
The young woman at the workhouse gate was desperate. Clutching her belly, she begged to be allowed inside. She had nowhere else to go.
The workhouse — for all the stories of cruelty that went on within its walls — was her only hope. She desperately needed shelter, for she was about to give birth. But the gatekeeper was inexorable: he had his orders.
Babies were expensive. They required feeding, clothing and supervising and it would be at least six years before they could earn their keep, either in the workhouse or in factories, mills or up chimneys.
The workhouse authorities had a duty to care for mothers in such a desperate plight. They were paid by the parish to house and clothe the wretched men, women and children who came to their doors as a last resort. For few would reside in the workhouse by choice. The conditions made prison seem comfortable in comparison.
But the Beadle — the supervisor of the workhouse — cared less for the law than for his own pockets. He could make a small profit from able-bodied adults and children by setting them to work outside the workhouse, while he siphoned off some of the money that was supposed to feed them.
Babies, on the other hand, were not profitable. The workhouse gate clanged shut.
It was a bitterly cold day and a harsh wind was whistling up Cleveland Street, in the Georgian suburbs of North London. A crowd began to gather as the young woman went into labour on the pavement. They all knew that no newborn baby could survive long in such circumstances.
‘The infant perished during this inhuman scene,’ a local newspaper reported afterwards. What became of the unhappy mother…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Oliver Twist

...Oliver Twist in relation to the Newgate Calendars Born into a poor English family in 1812, Charles Dickens worked his way up from a life of poverty and debtor's prison, to become a writer of national acclaim. In his Victorian era, he was an exception to the rule because it was very difficult to break through the barriers of social class and better oneself. Because of his bleak childhood, Dickens was one of the few writers of his time who could express the horrors of society as they really were. One of his most famous novels is Oliver Twist. This story centers on a young boy named Oliver whose real identity is unknown when his mother dies in childbirth. As an orphan, he is exploited by corrupt and selfish authority figures, and is forced into a life of poverty, hard labor, misery and crime. Oliver suffers horribly and often takes the blame for others' misdeeds. Dickens is showing that Oliver is a good person, and the bad things that happen to him are through no fault of his own, but because society and the people around him are bad. From his earliest childhood days, Oliver is treated harshly by society. He was born in a workhouse where he is barely given enough food to live and is forced to do hard manual labor. Dickens satirically describes the authorities' view of the poor in this passage: "'Oho!' said the board, looking very knowing, 'we are the fellows to set this to rights; we'll stop it all, in no time.' So they established the rule that all poor people should have...

Words: 1698 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Oliver Twist

...Oliver Twist is one of Charles Dickens’ most famous novels and a classic poor-to-rich story about an orphan who was born into a workhouse and must navigate his way around the criminal underworld to avoid being corrupted. Literature incorporates the history of the workhouse and reflects the concerns of both paupers and ratepayers, and it also challenges the dehumanizing effects of the Law’s administration. The time period of Oliver Twist was still under the time of the Old Poor Law, but it was mainly seen as criticizing of the New Poor Law. Felix Driver writes, “The account of the starving child who asked for more was almost certainly based on the earlier system, although the extent to which the old survived in the new does not entirely invalidate the criticism”. Scholars tend to focus on the scene where Oliver asks for more food as indicative of the meagre portions that the inmates received. These scholars identify hunger as the main threat of the workhouse, but that approach neglects the larger threat of death, which shapes Oliver’s character. When the opening chapters of the novel are considered more broadly, the workhouse is actually a site where the poor carry an obligation to one another. High death rates within the workhouse encourage solidarity as seen by the behaviours of the orphans. While providing charity carries the risk of supporting idlers, and Dickens is consistently critical of charity, he also writes the poor as recognizing common risks and finding their......

Words: 2866 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Oliver Twist an Analysis

...Oliver Twist written by Charles Dickens Oliver Twist published in 1838, a novel written by Charles Dickens, who was a leading English novelist of the Victorian ear and also considered of being one of the greatest English writers with deep-storytelling novels. ``Oliver Twist``, Dickens second novel, tells the story of the orphan Oliver who is through unfortunate circumstances forced to take part in criminal acts of the gangland of London. Where from he is later on rescued. I decided to analyse how Dickens tried to describe and expressed the poverty and the abundance in his novel, in doing so I will also try to direct my attention on the conditions of life at that time in England. To clearly understand you have to know how England was looking like around 1830 – also called the Victorian ear. In the 19th century more and more people moved into towns, with intent to find work. Cities like London were not prepared for such crowed of people and overcrowded very fast. And with the crowing number of people the living standards went down. So it was normal that a whole street had to share toilets and water. On the other hand there were the rich, which had bigger houses with fluent water and underground sewers. Dickens is showing in his novel all the time the two, to this time ruling standards of life, and Oliver Twist performs as his character who walks between and tries to reveal them. On the one side there is Mr. Bumble, the beadle, his job is to administrate the finances......

Words: 859 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Oliver Twist Essay

...Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist was written and published during the Victorian era, 1838. Dickens’ use of language successfully denotes contextual issues and narrative concepts, an important social commentator who used fiction effectively to highlight the contextual issues of society and class and criminality. The narrative techniques Dickens uses, unified with the context in which he wrote the novel, exemplify his ideas throughout the text. The use of good literature adds to an audience’s understanding of life during those times. It embodies thought and feeling on matters of human importance. Dickens uses the characters and situations in the novel to make a deliberate statement of his personal views of society and class about the poor laws and the criminal system. Society in Oliver Twist is hugely divided. While the upper classes live in their comfortable large houses, the lower class are seen to lead wretched lives, driven to crime by hunger and deprivation. At times Dickens steps out of the novel and addresses the reader directly using indirect speech. The opening of the book, the detached narrator impresses upon the reader that Oliver was only seen as a burden upon the parish, and also highlights the injustice of falling into a predestined social class. “The parish authorities resolved that Oliver should be ‘farmed’... be despatched to a branch workhouse where juvenile offenders against the poor-laws… ‘. He uses shifting narrative voice throughout Oliver Twist to......

Words: 475 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Charles Dickens "Oliver Twist"

...Throughout Charles Dickens’ book “Oliver Twist” the author elaborates on one main theme, the failure of charity. The first part of Oliver Twist takes into account the charity organizations run by the church and the government. The system Dickens describes in his book, explains that the poor could only receive government help if they moved and worked in government workhouses. Residents of those workhouses were compared to inmates whose rights were taken away for the price of food and shelter. Labor was required, and rations of food and clothing were slim. The workhouses operated on the principle that poverty was the equivalent to laziness and that the awful conditions in the workhouse would inspire the poor to better their own lives. The economic situation of the Industrial Revolution made it impossible for many to do so, and the workhouses did not provide to help with the social and economical adjustment upward. As Dickens points out, the government agencies who ran the workhouses violated the values they spoke of to the poor. Dickens describes with a sarcastic tone that of the greed, laziness, and arrogance of charitable workers like Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Mann. Charitable institutions only played on the awful conditions in which the poor would live anyway. Making orphan children like Oliver Twist start work at a very young age. Never giving him a chance to move up in the world. The book first opens with a look on how the poor must live and the conditions of the work......

Words: 396 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Oliver Twist Essay

...Oliver Twist is a novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1837 and was concerned 1834 Poor Law. The Poor Law was introduced by the Prime Minister, Earl Grey. The Poor Law should have been introduced to help the poor but instead it made their life a living hell. The poor were put into workhouses and little children were put into a baby farm until the age of 9. Dickens motive for writing this novel was to make people understand the full horrors of the Poor Law. Dickens showed his dislike of the 1834 Poor Law through his characterisation. Mrs Mann runs the baby farm which is where the young Oliver lives. She is a very greedy, callous and corrupt woman, “she appropriated the weakly stipend to her own use” which means that she steals from the little children that she was “supposed” to look after and starves them. She is a lying hypocrite, she tells the world that she “cares” and “loves” the children, this is because she says “Ah, bless’em, that I do, dear as it is “replied Mrs Mann.” I couldn’t see ‘em suffer before my very eyes, you know, sir.” Mrs Mann is lying so that she can keep her job and so she can continue to steal from the children. Mrs Mann neglects and abuses the children because “either it sickened from want and cold, or fell into the fire from neglect, or got half-smothered by accident.” Many children died and their deaths covered up. She has no womanly feelings, Dickens gives her the name, Mrs Mann. Mr Bumble employs Mrs Mann to run the baby farm. He is very......

Words: 1427 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Analysis Oliver Twist

...Mycroft 23 November 2015 William Skiles History 102 Term Paper: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, written in 1837, illustrates what is like to be a child in the 1830’s in London. This novel shows the truth about how the Victorian society’s viewed and treated the unfortunate. The foolishness of individualism, failure of charity, clarity of an immoral city, and how the countryside is overemphasized are all main themes of this novel. With being a child in this time period it was really hard to be noticed as an innocent; these kids were growing up in the middle class as workers in terrible conditions. Survival of the fittest was what the Victorians lived their lives by. They believed that if everyone in their society would look out for their own interests, that everything would run effortlessly. But that isn’t at all what happened; Dickens shows us that there was much more issues and problems with they way children were being treated. “[…] as Oliver looked out of the parlour window, and saw the Jew roll [his old clothes] up in his bag and walk away, he felt quite delighted to think that they were safely gone, and that there was now no possible danger of his ever being able to wear them again” (14.8). At the end of the novel everyone is starting to turn against each other and give in to the philosophy, of everyone for himself or herself. However, the second group of Oliver and his many friends prove their community and society wrong by......

Words: 1004 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Fagin`S Character in Charles Dickens` “Oliver Twist”

...Dickens` “Oliver Twist” Characters are one of the most significant features that writers use to express their thoughts and illustrate their messages. These characters may be good or bad depending on the characterization given to them by the writers. In other words, the goodness or evilness of a character is determined by the way the writers depict the character`s physical appearance, speech, behavior or reaction. In “Oliver Twist”, Dickens successfully chooses his characters to suit the message of his work. This novel deals with many topics, one of which is the world of crime and criminals. One major character in this field of criminality is Fagin, the Jew. Fagin is ugly and has a terrifying appearance which gives the readers a hit that this person is not a good character. And he is, indeed, a bad character. He is the master criminal; he is the leader of a group of children whom he uses for his own sake. Fagin teaches those children how to do pickpocketing. Simply, he asks them to steal and bring what they stole to him so that he can trade with some of those stolen things and keep the precious species for himself. However, Dickens doesn’t present Fagin as evil only, but he instead shows the readers many dimensions of Fagin`s character. For example, Fagin is called “merry old gentleman” since he is seen many times in sarcastic situations and humorous scenes. Besides, no one can ignore the kindness that Fagin shows towards Oliver so many times, especially when he advises......

Words: 1010 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Oliver Twist

...------------------------------------------------- Top of Form 1 Điền số vào dấu chấm hỏi: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, ? 32 28 26 34 40 43 2 Điền vào dấu ba chấm: "Tre già ... mọc". măng ngô trúc liễu 3 Hiện nay bạn 10 tuổi, 8 năm nữa bạn sẽ gấp đôi tuổi em ruột bạn bây giờ, hỏi bây giờ em bạn bao nhiêu tuổi? 8 9 10 12 18 Không phải các đáp án trên. 4 Một sản phẩm được hạ giá 40%, hỏi sản phẩm đó phải tăng giá lên bao nhiêu % để trở về giá ban đầu? 40% 53,3% 66,7% 83,3% 25% 33,3% 5 Một số A là B, không có B nào là C Khẳng định: Một số A có thể là C là: Đúng Sai 6 8 người sơn được 3 cái nhà trong 6 giờ. Hỏi với 12 người sẽ sơn được bao nhiêu cái nhà trong 12 giờ? 3 cái 5 cái 7 cái 8 cái 9 cái 10 cái (Đáp án = 9) 7 Điền số vào dấu chấm hỏi: 4312, 5420, 6530, 7642, ? 3232 2867 2655 3234 8756 9647 (Đáp án = 8756) 8 Bạn cho biết cái nào sau đây không cùng loại: Mặt Trời, Trái Đất, sao Chổi, Mặt Trăng, ngôi sao, sao Hỏa. Mặt Trời Trái Đất sao Chổi Mặt Trăng ngôi sao sao Hỏa (Đáp án = Ngôi sao) 9 Bạn có 84 quả táo đựng trong 12 rỏ, nếu muốn ăn 1/3 số táo trong mỗi rỏ thì bạn cần ít nhất bao nhiêu lần cắn, biết rằng mỗi lần bạn cắn được 1/3 của 1/2 quả táo. 108 lần 121 lần 144 lần 168 lần 196 lần 225 lần (Đáp án = 168) 10 Một con sóc nhẩy theo một rỏ hạt dẻ nằm trên tay bạn. Giả sử rằng cứ mỗi cú nhẩy con sóc tiến được 30cm, mỗi bước bạn đi là 20cm. Hỏi cần tối thiểu bao nhiêu bước nhẩy để con sóc lấy được hạt dẻ nếu khoảng cách giữa bạn và con sóc lúc đầu là 1,8m và......

Words: 1536 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Oliver Twist’s Will to Survive

...Oliver Twist’s will to survive Oliver Twist is one of the most famous novels Charles Dickens ever wrote. It is a tale of childhood innocence, surrounded by evil; whereby, it portrays the dark unlawful mob of a London, occupied by strong and unforgettable characters. It is a timeless rags-to-riches story about an orphan, who has to navigate his way across a city full of criminals, and stay away from being corrupted. Oliver Twist's will to survive throughout the novel, is the ultimate contributing factor to his finding his biological family. Dickens draws out a convincing image of a disturbing childhood preoccupied by a struggle between the poor laws and criminality; the forces of good and evil; and a sense of alienation. In one of the most common places where poor laws is depicted is that of where Oliver Twist’s birth takes place: a workhouse, where his mother takes refuge and dies after giving birth to her illegitimate son, and is unable to make her identity known to anyone. According to Chlebek, this is where everything “begins, the nightmare of abandonment, exploitation, and terror that constitute the orphan’s early life” (“Childhood in Oliver Twist"). During Oliver’s first year, he is brought up in the workhouse. He is then sent to Mrs. Mann’s baby farm, where he is regularly starved for the next eight years. However, on Oliver’s ninth birthday, the parish beadle, Mr. Bumble, returns Oliver to the workhouse so that he can learn a useful trade: picking oakum. ......

Words: 2678 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Penis

...seller of all time with over 200 million copies and Oliver Twist. Dickens succeeded in making the Victorian public aware of the conditions of the poor through his book Oliver Twist and through the characterisation of his titular character, Oliver Twist. In Oliver Twist Dickens presents a portrait of the macabre childhood of a considerable number of Victorian orphans. The orphans are underfed, and for a meal they are given a single scoop of gruel. Oliver, one of the oppressed children, dares to ask for more gruel and is severely punished. This is represented when Oliver asks the master, “Please, sir, I want some more?” This scene in the novel marked early child abuse and notified the Victorian communities about conditions orphans like Oliver were treated in. Throughout the novel, Dickens enlarges on the theme of poverty and social structure, describing slums so decrepit that whole rows of houses are on the point of ruin. In an early chapter, Oliver attends a pauper's funeral with Mr. Sowerberry and sees a whole family crowded together in one miserable room. “The kennel was stagnant and filthy. The very rats, which here and there lay putrefying in its rottenness, were hideous with famine.” Dickens also discusses the themes of criminality among young children in Oliver Twist. Regarding the context of this novel, when Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, crime was a major issue in England especially London. How young children like Oliver resort to the crime life in order to......

Words: 924 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Book Report

...Tiarah Bissonette P4 Oliver Twist Charles Dickens 1. Summary: This story was about a boy named Oliver Twist who was a orphan after his mom died while she was giving birth to him and then he moved to London. Then while he was in London he was kidnapped by John Dawkins and then later escapes. Then, later is mixed in with these mass murders and opens up Oliver eyes to see how bad of people they are. Oliver is now a trouble maker and has a while behavior and is reported to the Fargin. After he gets reported then Oliver straightens up 2. Setting: The setting of this book was terror of unanticipated violence where it was always cold and weary. The time was in the 19th century in England 3. Character: 1. Oliver Twist: (27) “ The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported by worth house authorities to the parish authorities”—Oliver was known as a orphan than anything else in this book and I think that’s what this quote was leaning now towards 2. Mrs. Maylie: (302) “I know that she deserves the best and purest love the heart of man can offer” – she was a very offering women and a stately women also. 3. Mr. Bumble: (30) “no, you could not. You are a humble women”—he was more of a cranky man and never wanted to giver good advice 4. Conflict: it was a good vs evil and to find his quest and place in this world 5. Theme: this main theme about the book would probably be mad interrelated ideas and about the poverty in this......

Words: 377 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Fate of Cockroach

...OLIVER TWIST Charles Dickens Plot Overview Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse in 1830s England. His mother, whose name no one knows, is found on the street and dies just after Oliver’s birth. Oliver spends the first nine years of his life in a badly run home for young orphans and then is transferred to a workhouse for adults. After the other boys bully Oliver into asking for more gruel at the end of a meal, Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, offers five pounds to anyone who will take the boy away from the workhouse. Oliver narrowly escapes being apprenticed to a brutish chimney sweep and is eventually apprenticed to a local undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. When the undertaker’s other apprentice, Noah Claypole, makes disparaging comments about Oliver’s mother, Oliver attacks him and incurs the Sowerberrys’ wrath. Desperate, Oliver runs away at dawn and travels toward London. Outside London, Oliver, starved and exhausted, meets Jack Dawkins, a boy his own age. Jack offers him shelter in the London house of his benefactor, Fagin. It turns out that Fagin is a career criminal who trains orphan boys to pick pockets for him. After a few days of training, Oliver is sent on a pickpocketing mission with two other boys. When he sees them swipe a handkerchief from an elderly gentleman, Oliver is horrified and runs off. He is caught but narrowly escapes being convicted of the theft. Mr. Brownlow, the man whose handkerchief was stolen, takes the feverish Oliver to his home and nurses him...

Words: 2460 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Charles

...having an excellent hero in Oliver Twist (Oliver Twist), Hard Times (Stephen Blackpool), and The Great Expectation (Pip). To commence, we will look at Oliver in Oliver Twist. As the child hero of a melodramatic novel of social dispute, Oliver Twist is meant to appeal more to our feelings than to our literary sensibilities. On many levels, Oliver is not a believable character, because although he is raised in corrupt surroundings, his purity and virtue are absolute. In the ten years we know of Oliver Twist he is portrayed as continuously childlike and morally upright, despite the fact that he’s had very little treatment that differs from contempt, violence, or indifference. Oliver is thrown into every situation that you would expect a hero to be gradually hardened from: poverty, starvation, violence and exposure to a criminal underworld populated by kids his age and younger. With all the character has gone through the reader would be more than willing to let any evidence of evil slide but this doesn’t happen because Oliver’s dark side doesn’t exist. Dickens explains the mysterious nature of Oliver’s character very briefly and vaguely with this passage, “It cannot be expected that this system of farming would produce any very extraordinary or luxuriant crop…But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast” (Oliver Twist, 21) In that statement is Dickens’s justification for Oliver’s pure soul that it is ‘inherited.’ Oliver Twist very much follows......

Words: 1601 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Child Labour in British Literature

...career. Dickens could foresee how child labour would gradually be a part of a social disorder and finally culminate into a social curse through centuries. He could foresee what curse evils such as „child labour‟ could bring to society. It could only lead to the degradation and indignity of humanity. He successfully portrays the sufferings of little children in 19th century Britain. Child workers appeared in several other Dickens novels, most memorably in the form of Oliver Twist. Oliver Twist is a novel by  Charles Dickens  which was published  in 1838. Oliver twist appeared at Victorian era. Exploitation of child is issue in Oliver Twist. In the novel Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens describes the life in the workhouses.  Oliver was born in workhouses. His mother, whose name no one knows is found on the street and dies just after Oliver's birth. Oliver spends the first nine years of his life in a badly run home for young orphans and then is transferred to a workhouse for adults. Here Oliver and other child employ with hard considerably in factory. They are given some eat and treaded without good. Nevertheless, workhouses council that have responsible to take care of orphan just at the moment he had doesn’t care with child. Workhouses have a good alive from money that they are accepting from government. So there are brogues ideologies which as related to class capitalist that influence by social class and economy. Another example is Cecilia......

Words: 1334 - Pages: 6