How does Dickens create a world of violence

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Dickens lets Fagin stir up hatred in Sikes, and then he wickedly lets loose the story of Nancy’s dealings with Mr. Brownlow, so to ensure Sikes acts violently and to let him lose all sort of dignity, he may have had previously. The rapid loss of his discipline makes the readers think that Sikes had not contemplated what he is hearing and whether or not it might be true, but instead taking Fagin’s word and acting brutally upon it. Quotes such as “Hell’s fire! ” “Let me go”, proves this point. The fact that Nancy is the only true friend he has in the midst of all this, has been obscured by the lies and deceit orchestrated by Fagin and Noah.

When he runs to murder Nancy he is seen to “look straight before him with savage resolution”, and to “double-lock the door” when he comes to the sight of Nancy in their room. She is viewed as a ‘motherly’ character and so when she desperately pleads with Sikes not to hurt her, it makes the murder yet more horrific. Dickens then goes on to show Sikes as unwilling to comprehend the truth as he couldn’t tear away his arms away from around Nancy, and brands her a “she devil”. This is one of only few words said by Sikes during the incident.

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Dickens completes the terrible ending to the section by showing Sikes in control from the moment he enters the room and so no matter what Nancy has to say, it would have never been heeded by the character, and so she was destined to die in that room, in that moment, because of his uncontrollable anger. In pages 463 to 464, Sikes is sat resolutely in a chair overlooking the ghastly sight of Nancy. This solemn image of Sikes sitting there would almost certainly perturb an audience and so the method used by Dickens to ‘move’ the audience works effectively.

When Sikes is shown to “throw a rug over it”, the “it” shows the identity-less Nancy. Sikes then arises from his position and recoils from the sight of the body on the floor which has “so much flesh, so much blood”. Dickens shows us this reaction because up until this point, Sikes has appeared to be an out and out criminal. In his guilt, however, he becomes more convincingly human, and sorrow becomes an overwhelming factor to the emotions he has suddenly found. A guilty conscience is soon apparent in Sikes as he tries to ‘shut it out’ and then wanders listlessly into the countryside.

With his vision of phantoms, it becomes clear that Sikes has lost all, of any, thought. Dickens’ dramatics in describing Sikes’s aimlessness shows that he is becoming more aware of his pursuers, and now he feels that he is being hunted by outside people, but even worse, by himself. Dickens uses this as it re-iterates the fact that Sikes is becoming human, and he’s not totally immune to feelings of shock, horror, guilt and most of all, fear. Primarily, Oliver Twist is a documentation of the way life was in London, during the Industrial Revolution.

Dickens attempts to use the novel as a protest against the living and social conditions for people like Oliver’s mother. Her anonymous character which gives life to the main character of the story, shows that there was a future for even the poorest of people during the era. Dickens also tries to represent the failure of the systems in place which were meant to help “paupers”, but ironically did the exact opposite, as the character Mr. Bumble characterises. The name “Twist” seems to signify the destiny of Oliver before the audience is allowed to imagine the character.

Dickens selective use of words which would contrast and comply with those times, make Oliver Twist a real record for people in the future. This may have helped in those times aswell, as Charles Dickens was extremely famous, so by writing such work he would reach an unlimited number of readers. The way he portrays the city during the era suggests to readers, with the luck of hindsight, that he may have disagreed with the laws that were in place and the squalor which was an overwhelming factor in choosing an individuals fate.

He does this by symbolising the countryside, where Oliver escapes to with Mr. Brownlow & Mrs Maylie, as a place abundant with hope and prosperity where Oliver could develop, and in stark contrast to his fortunes in London, make something of himself. After researching a little more, I found that during that era there was a greater individualism in society. So when Dickens creates characters such as Nancy, Mrs. Maylie, Mr Brownlow and Oliver himself, it showed that even when society was divided, that there was still some dart of hope.

And on reflection, there were still some individuals who acted out of others interests first. Maybe Dickens even wanted to use this pseudonym as a figure for people who were in that situation, to let them go from their confinement, showing that Dickens wanted to help society and by doing so make a better world for everyone. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Oliver Twist section.


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