free essay on Plot Summary of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist depicts the story of a young boy's life and how he must ..

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Oliver Twist is one of the most famous novels ever wrote (which is impressive, given that he wrote fifteen super-popular novels during his life). It’s a classic about an orphan who has to find his way through a city full of criminals, and avoid being corrupted. People read Oliver Twist in Dickens's day—and are still reading it now—for the gritty realism with which Dickens portrays working class people and the horrible living conditions of the slums.

Oliver Twist is also the second novel Dickens ever wrote, and it was published in installments between 1837 and 1839. Many novels at the time were published serially, meaning that each chapter was issued separately, once a month, over the space of a year or two. And this only upped the hype of his novels.

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And good authorship, Dickens tells us, is to make the shifts seem natural. Is it working? The digression to tell us about all of this isn’t "natural," maybe, but why else might it be there? Another cool thing about this passage is that Oliver Twist was, in fact, turned into the same kind of "good, murderous melodrama" that Dickens is making fun of – it got produced in at least eight different versions in the nineteenth century (well before the musical Oliver! came out).

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( The next time someone criticizes your taste in videogames, you can try suggesting that, if Dickens were alive today, he might have tried his hand at writing a shooter.)

Oliver Twist is Dickens’s only novel that qualifies as a "Newgate novel," though, so it seems like he just wanted to try his hand at the popular style of writing before turning to other, loftier pursuits. We’re certainly happy that he experimented with the Newgate genre, because we’re left with the totally entertaining fruits of that experiment.

This is a study guide to Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan boy who reflects the life of poverty in England in the 1830's.


SparkNotes: Oliver Twist: Character List

People tend to think of Oliver Twist as an old book about but in reality it's way more creeptastic and peripheral than that. It's about a cherubic orphan, sure. But it's really about the worst possible environment for our sweet lil' Oliver: the original mean streets of London-town and the people that populated them.

A list of all the characters in Oliver Twist

It is the custom on the stage in all good, murderous melodramas, to present the tragic and the comic scenes in as regular alternation as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky, well-cured bacon […] Such changes appear absurd, but they are by no means unnatural. The transitions in real life from well-spread boards to death-beds, and from mourning weeds to holiday garments, are not a whit less startling, only there we are busy actors instead of passive lookers-on, which makes a vast difference. (17.1-2)