Literary Analysis Of Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist'

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Throughout Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist there is a constant combination of realism and fantasy which forms a surrealist melodrama created using intensely realistic descriptions. This extract from chapter ten is a good example of this alternating realism, as Dickens portrays Oliver as credulous and naive, possibly too naive to be compared to reality. Many critics believe that after growing up in the industrious and squalid environment which he is presented to of, it is more credible to believe that in reality Oliver would grow up to be more like the Artful Dodger or Noah Claypole. The purpose of this essay is to – through close analysis of this extract – asses whether Dickens’ intentions to attack the inequities of the 1834 poor law is effective…show more content…
All the things that Oliver has seen and learnt since joining Fagin 's gang now fit into place, and he begins to realise that he has fallen into unfavourable and bad company. However, in this scene his quixotic naivety is most apparent as it is obvious he never suspected what has been clear all along, which produces an instance of sustained irony. Chapter ten depicts one of the greatest coincidences in the whole novel as the man Oliver finds himself in this situation with is ironically Oliver’s father oldest friends, revealed later on in the novel. The surrealism of this event juxtaposes heavily with the realistic imagery Dickens’ creates of a typical bustling street in London at the time of the victorian era. The crime gives Dickens a chance to throw light on some ugly realities of human…show more content…
For example, the exaggerated, onomatopoeia-like adjectives such as “rattling”, “splashing”, “tearing, yelling, screaming…” and so on. Admittedly, the use of these words create a flawless build up of tension but is also incomparable to a real life situation. Furthermore, he states that “there is a magic in the sound” of the “hundred voices” shouting “Stop thief!” Use of the noun “magic” again creates dream-like imagery that makes readers reject any theory that the novel is based on truth. The extract as a whole centres around Londoners leaving their belongings and chasing the supposed thief; “The tradesman leaves his counter, and the car-man his waggon; the butcher throws down his tray…” This fast-paced and chaotic listing and repetition once again creates a surrealist tone as it paints a detailed image of every person in a busy street frantically chasing an innocent boy. Of course there is no way of proving that scenes like this didn’t happen in this era but is rational to believe that it is
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