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Charles DickensOliver Twist

1.About the author
2.Main characters
4.About the book
5.Historical backround
6.Themes of the book
7.My opinion

About the author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsea, England. His parents and he lived in the middle-class. When Dickens was twelve years old, his family forced him to quit school and work in a blacking factory, a place where shoe polish is made. Within weeks, his fahter was put in debtor’s prison. At this point, Dickens lived on his own and continued work at the factory. After inhertiting some money, Dickens fahter got out of prison and Charles returned to school. As a young adult, he worked as a law clerk and later as a journalist. His experience as a journalist kept him close contact with the darker social conditions of the Industrial Revolution. Dickens became famous and began to make money from his writing when he published his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, which was serialized in 1836 and published in book from the following year.
In 1836, Dickens married Catherine Hogarth, but after twenty years of marriage and ten children, he fell in love with Ellen Ternan. Soon after, Dickens and his wife seperated. He died of a stroke in 1870, at the age of 58. His famous novels are The Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Black House and Oliver Twist. After his dead he leaving the novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood unfinished.
Main characters

Oliver Twist-
He is the novel’s protagonist.Oliver is an orphan born in a workhouse. Oliver is between nine and twelve years old when the main action of the novel occurs. He is a pious, innocent child, and his charms draw the attention of several wealthy benefactors. His true identity is the central mystery of the novel.

The main antagonist in the story, “The Jew” takes Oliver under his wing and tries to make a pickpocket out of him. He is a powerful crime leader who has an affection for only money and will kill anyone who stands in his way

She is a young prostitute and one of Fagin’s former child pickpockets. Nancy is also Bill Sikes’s lover. She has a sense of moral decency and despite her criminal lifestyle, she is among the noblest character in the novel.

He is a well-off gentleman who serves as Oliver’s first benefactor. Mr Brownlow behaves with compassion and common sense.

He is a minor church official for the workhouse where Oliver Twist was born. He preaches Christian morality and he has no compassion.

Bill Sikes-
Another evil character who is a member of Fagin’s gang. He has a little white dog, called Bull’s eye ( means „Volltreffer“), that follows him everywhere. He threatens Oliver and leaves him to die in a field after the boy was shot. He kills Nancy in a rage, and eventually kills himself.

Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse in 1830s in 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 he 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 offers five pounds to anyone who will take the boy away from the workhouse. Oliver came to the undertaker Mr.Sowerberry. When the undertaker’s other apprentice, Noah Claypole, makes disparaging comments about Oliver’s mother, Oliver attacks him. Desperate, Oliver runs away at dawn and travels toward London.
Outside London, Oliver 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 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 stole a handkerchief from an elderly gentleman, Oliver is horrified and runs off, but he is caught and the people convicted him as the theft. Mr. Brownlow, the man whose handkerchief was stolen, takes Oliver to his home and nurses him back to health. Oliver lives good in Mr. Brownlow’s home, but two young adults in Fagin’s gang, Bill Sikes and his lover Nancy, capture Oliver and return him to Fagin.
Fagin sends Oliver to assist Sikes in a criminal plan. Oliver is shot by a owner of the house and, after Sikes escapes, he is taken in by the women who live there, Mrs. Maylie and her beautiful adopted niece Rose. Oliver spends an idyllic summer with them in the countryside. But Fagin and a mysterious man named Monks are set on recapturing Oliver. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Oliver’s mother left behind a gold locket when she died. Monks obtains and destroys that locket. When the Maylies come to London, Nancy meets secretly with Rose and informs her of Fagin’s designs, but a member of Fagin’s gang overhears the conversation. When the words of Nancy reaches Sikes, he brutally murders Nancy and flees London. He hangs himself while trying to escape, because he feel sorry of the murder.
Mr. Brownlow, with whom the Maylies have reunited Oliver, confronts Monks and wrings the truth about Oliver’s parentage from him. It shows that Monks is Oliver’s half brother. Their father, Mr. Leeford, was unhappily married to a wealthy woman and had an affair with Oliver’s mother, Agnes Fleming. Moreover, it is discovered that Rose is Agnes’s younger sister. Fagin is hung for his crimes. Finally, Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver, and they and the Maylies retire to a blissful life.
About the book
Time and place written
· The book is written in 1837–38, London

Date of first publication
· The book is published in serial form between February 1837 and April 1839; first book edition published in November 1838
· The book was first published serially in Bentley’s Miscellany
· The book has an anonymous narrator

Point of view
· The narrator is third person omniscient, and assumes the points of view of various characters in turn. The narrator’s tone is not objective; it is sympathetic to the protagonists and far less so to the novel’s other characters. When dealing with hypocritical or morally characters, the narrative voice is often ironic or sarcastic.
Time setting
· The story plays in the 1830s
Place setting
· The story plays in London and the English countryside
. 1948 directed by David Lean
. 1997 directed by Toni Bill
. 1968 by Ron Moody

Historical backround
In the mid-nineteenth century, England was suffering from economic instability and unemployment. During this time, England was at war with France. The English government had imposed heavy taxes to pay for the war, and although these did not really affect the wealthy classes, they were a crushing burden on the poor. Prices and inflation rose. Also because of the war, French and European markets for English goods were closed, leading to unemployment among workers.
In the English class structure, the highest social class belonged to the “gentleman,” an aristocrat who did not have to work for his living. Also in 1834, a new Poor Law had been passed. The law allowed the poor to receive public assistance only if they lived and worked in established workhouses. Beggars risked imprisonment. Debtors were sent to prison, often with their entire families. Workhouses were made to be as miserable as possible in order to deter the poor from relying on public assistance. Also families were split apart upon entering the workhouse. Husbands were permitted no contact with their wives. Mothers were separated from children and brothers were separated from their sisters. In short, the middle class was the lowest member of English society.
Themes of the book

Critic of the English society
Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan boy who reflects the life of poverty in England in the 1830’s. The story illustrates the evils of the Poor House’s of the time and the corruption of the people who work there. It also shows London’s crime with robbery and pick pocketing.
Crime as a result of isolation
Poverty leading to crime and crime resulting in isolation. Dickens had the opportunity to observe the residents of the London streets from close quarters. In order to escape the pangs of hunger and shadow of insecurity, the poor children took to crime and fell into the hands of the underworld. Nancy's story relates the tale of an woman who had fallen into the evil hands of Fagin because of her poverty. She is haunted by her guilt and regrets her presence in the criminal world. However, she feels helpless in the society of criminals who fail to understand her feelings. She feels isolated from the world around her.

The Failure of Charity
Much of the first part of Oliver Twist challenges the organizations of charity run by the church and the government. The system Dickens describes was put into place by the Poor Law of 1834. The workhouses operated on the principle that poverty was the consequence of laziness and that the dreadful conditions in the workhouse would inspire the poor to better their own circumstances. Dickens describes with great sarcasm the greed, laziness, and arrogance of workers like Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Mann. In general, charitable institutions only reproduced the awful conditions in which the poor would live anyway. As Dickens puts it, the poor choose between “die by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it.”

My Opinion
In my opinion Oliver Twist is a very good book, because it’s easy to understand, the language is not very hard and the whole story is interesting and exciting. Furthermore the critic of the conditions in England come out very clear and the story shows us that you can reach a lot if you stay on the right way.
Englische Buchbeschreibung über "Oliver Twist" von Charles Dickens.

1.About the author
2.Main characters
4.About the book
5.Historical backround
6.Themes of the book
7.My opinion (1683 Wörter)
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