Jul 16, 2007

Oliver Twist ~ Charles Dickens

This review was written by Sam's older sister Kelly Taylor. Thank you for the contribution Kelly!
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“Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table, and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’”
- Pg 25, Oliver Twist

The classic tale of Oliver Twist was originally penned by Charles Dickens in 1839, a social novel written to call attention to the revolting state of England’s lowlife, the wrongs of the welfare system, and other evils such as child labor and the recruitment of children as criminals.

Young Dickens experienced a fragment of this first hand when at the age of 12, his father was imprisoned for overspending and Charles was sent to the workhouses, working 10 hours a day at Warren’s Boot Blacking factory. The reader feels Dickens reflections of childhood and his passion for public awareness as he reads this classic story revolving around an innocent orphaned boy, Oliver Twist, born into a poor house outside of London.

As the tale takes its ups and downs, Oliver finds himself with the best and the worst of London society. He encounters various people from the detestable Fagin, and his unruly gang of pickpockets to the benevolent Mr. Brownlow, who kindly offers Oliver a home. The plot thickens with the beautiful Rose Maylie, a compassionate young woman with a strangely mysterious past and uncanny resemblance to Oliver.

The story reveals the nature of man in many ways, as some are destined to be evil (see Proverbs 16:4) and others destined for good and greatness. Characters like villainous Bill Sikes and Monks show how destructive acting rashly can be on ones life. Harry Maylie teaches the value of life, and love with poverty, over riches accompanied by loneliness. The haughty Mr. Bumble unwittingly educates us on the value of humility, while Mr. Brownlow demonstrates love even through difficulty. Through Nancy we learn faithfulness, and by Noah Claypool we see the folly of trying to gain wealth by thievery and falsehood, and the benefits of prosperity gained by labor and honest hard work. Along for the ride are memorable characters such as Mr. Grimwig, a funny old man, who distrusts Oliver, but comes to love him in the end after he finally stops offering to “eat his head.” (For the reason, you will have to read the book!).

This exciting tale is interwoven with innocence and iniquity, love and hatred, joy and sorrow. I myself am an avid Dickens fan, and this book didn’t let me down in the least! Recommended as a good introduction to Dickens works, Oliver Twist is well worth your time as it shows us more than the sorrows of London’s poor in the early 1800’s and how to guard against the mistakes of the past, but also many valuable life lessons from the brilliant mind of Charles Dickens

Written by Kelly Taylor, Vancouver WA

Buy Oliver Twist

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you guys know that you can add a Search page thing to your blog?

Isaac Harris said...

Are you speaking of the Search Blog Element? Yes we are... In fact You just reminded me I am supposed to put that up. Thanks!

Jo said...

I'm a fan of Dickens but haven't read Oliver Twist yet. Sounds very interesting...I'll have to put that next on my list!