10 - Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist is actually a very grim book. Peasant children, or “waifs,” are
virtually imprisoned in work houses, actually imprisoned in jails, forced into
criminal labor, and even murdered. And in truth, the situations and
predicaments that orphaned Oliver experiences in the book were not that
different from the reality of life in London. In fact, Oliver Twist was an early example of the “social novel,” and it was
effective in calling the public’s attention to many of the social ills plaguing
the poverty stricken youth of London.
Blessedly, the novel’s grimness is tempered by both Dicken’s impeccable sense
of humor as well as little Oliver’s cherubic character. Through it all, he
remains good-natured and pure-hearted, and in the end his goodness is rewarded.
And the wicked men and women who tried to make Oliver’s life hell? Well, they
all receive their just desserts.
~ Evan Derrick
Purchase "Oliver Twist" here.