Dickens, Charles-"Oliver Twist"
“Oliver Twist” is a formation novel. It was published in installments in 1837-38.
It became very popular since it combines the dramatic story of a foundling with realism and social satire. Dickens makes his readers laugh through tears: his tone is melodramatic.
The protagonist is Oliver, a foundling who lives a miserable life in a workhouse. He decides to run away and he meets a young thief on the road. He thinks he has found a friend and follows him to London. There, he’s introduced to other children who promise to grant him food and shelter. Oliver finds out they’re a gang of thieves led by Fagin, an old Jew. Oliver is forced to join the gang. He’s rescued by Mr. Brownlow, a nice gentleman, but some members of the gang kidnap him. After many adventures, some of which involve a mysterious character called Monks, the gang is arrested by the police. Oliver finds out he’s a relative of Mr. Brownlow’s: he has finally found a family.
Dickens was concerned with the plight of the poor, social injustice, political incompetence and corruption and class conflicts, which he wanted to denounce. He also wanted to criticize the hypocrisy of the Church of England and the gap between the rich and the poor in Victorian society. In his novels, such dramatic themes are stressed by comic elements.
As always in Dicken's novels, the main characters in his novels belong to the lower and middle class. They’re precisely described and they’re divided into good and bed. In constrast with children's innocence the adults often reveal to be hypocritical, cynical, mean and self-interest.