Oliver Twist Symbolism Essay

Oliver Twist Symbolism Essay-5
The chief action of the urban setting, by which the story's main tension is created, is to attempt to corrupt Oliver and trick his better nature into an end at the gallows.

The chief action of the urban setting, by which the story's main tension is created, is to attempt to corrupt Oliver and trick his better nature into an end at the gallows.

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Admittedly, human antagonists -- the living, breathing kind -- exist, and even dominate, the work, however they might be understood as pieces of setting at times, rather than free-agents.

if, to follow the critic Harold Bloom, we can agree that Dickens's is "a world of caricatures and grotesques," we find that many of the characters, being only partially rounded themselves, exist as facets of a larger, hidden character; they are aspects of a fully-conceived, wholly-rounded meta-character, a character who, in Oliver Twist, might be taken to be the setting itself.

The piece of setting particular to him is his apartment, attended by all the griminess and half-light one might expect; but a more interesting note in regards to Sikes and setting, is that his function is commonly to travel beyond his setting, and invade the opposing country setting. Brownlow's affluent neighborhood and stumbles across Oliver, later he leads the failed invasion of the Maylie estate.

In fact, Sikes's occupation is that of an invader, he is a "robber;" and it can be well said that he invades not just setting but psyche as well, acting as an agent of the urban setting behind enemy lines.

Largely, it may be said that Oliver Twist is the story of one boy's triumph over the streets he was raised on.

It is important then -- if we define setting as a character -- to ascertain the qualities particular to that character.and, though the reader travels through many settings in these pages, each a meta-character unto itself, perhaps the most important to Oliver Twist -- certainly the most important to its cautionary aims -- are the urban settings.Oliver is bustled through a progression of urban settings from the novel's onset, a scaling crescendo beginning in Mrs.Fagin is depicted, frequently, as a devil, perhaps the devil himself.He is a Jew -- and the anti-Semitic currents of the time associated Jews with the devil -- his hair is bright red, he is shown brandishing a tri-pronged fork; he is a corruptor, a beguiler, and when Oliver first escapes the clutches of the urban setting, by running away from the Sowerberrys', the urban setting responds by escalation.Its chief personifications are all corrupt; from the Bumbles and Manns who are corrupt in charity, to Fagin and Sikes who are corrupt in morality, to the live board and the magistrate of the court who are corrupt in justice. In the Dickensian style, she is so much a caricature of bureaucratic corruption, that she cannot be considered fully round. Bumble is a union of two like caricatures, a marriage of convenience attended by the bureaucratic expedience and corruption innate to these two. She is an extension of the setting in that she mirrors in personality and function, the labyrinthine illogic of the Poor Laws and houses.This labyrinthine quality -- a complex of by-ways and laws -- is a recurring motif throughout the novel. He is a career criminal; he is cruel and violent; and by the story's end he is a murderer.uses cookies to personalize content, tailor ads and improve the user experience. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. Punishments are harsh, ranging from six weeks at hard labor when an un-evidenced conviction is rendered, and, for those convicted under evidence, transportation for life or death at the gallows; no middle-ground between the extremes exists.The workings of justice -- at least in the case of Oliver's pick-pocketing trial -- are shown to be mechanical, bureaucratic; gears ground by bored functionaries who interest themselves not and care even less.


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