Oliver Twist in a novel from Charles Dickens.
The novel fictionalizes the economic insecurity and humiliation Dickens experienced when he was a boy.
Oliver Twist is a poor boy of unknown parents; he’s brought up in a workhouse.
He’s later sold to an undertaker as an apprentice, but because of the cruelty of his master, he run away from London.
There he falls into the hands of a gang of young pickpockets; Oliver is kidnapped by the gang and forced to commit thefts; during this ‘job’ he’s shot and suffers a lot.
Then a middle-class family adopts Oliver, showing kindness and affection towards him.
At the end, some investigations are made about Oliver and it’s discovered that he has noble origins, and all the gang’s members are arrested.
The most important setting of the novel is London, where we could find three different social levels: the first is the parochial world of the workhouse, the second is the criminal world and then the world of the Victorian middle-class.
-The World of the Workhouse-
Dickens attacked the social evils of his times, such as poor houses, unjust courts, and the underworld.
Because of the poverty, workhouses run by parishes appeared up all over England to give relief to the poor.
However, the conditions prevailing in the workhouses were appalling.
There were some severe regulations: labour was required, families were almost always separated and there were only lows portions of food.
The workhouses had dreadful conditions, that would had not inspired the poor to get better conditions, in fact the workhouses didn’t provided any social or economic improvement.
Instead of alleviating the sufferings of the poor, the officials who run workhouses abused their rights.