Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens Response

After three and a half months of pushing through Oliver Twist, I think I am writing this because I truly and most dearly believe that I have something to say on the matter - old books are hard.

The reason I picked Oliver Twist up in the first place was a quite reasonable one - it was the end of the day and I'd heard about it and how it was a classic. I was up to the the challenge.

After getting to about halfway through Oliver Twist by reading it in quirky old-style British accents I was thinking "This is absolute bullocks, I've lost my mind!" so with the help of my friends, I decided to listen to it as accompaniment, one chapter a day to get through the incredibly detailed and rich language (authors were payed by the page back then).

The daily discipline of reading Twist was not rewarding in the sense of experiencing a gripping plot, but more along the lines of meditation, not instantly gratifying but after a while I got the feeling of deep enjoyment that grows roots and is truly worth something. These old classics have something to say about our rich roots. They speak of issues and ways of the past and present that have made us who we are today - especially since stories are such a big part of our human experience from the common stories of the day to the Bible.

The book follows the of young Oliver's childhood and how he is constantly put into the worst of situations through the simple fact that he was born a bastard child and also being put into the hands of people most would avoid. He's an outcast in most people's eyes, and always seems to get the short end of the stick.

The most famous line in the whole book is the contextually trivial and daring act of how Oliver gets picked to ask for some more gruel. "Please sir, can I have some more?" It's captivated people because of it's sheer innocence and sincerity that it's said with. It's great how the workhouse masters go crazy and kick him out. He then shuffles through places until he gets into the underworld of crime. After an incident with the law, the confused boy gets rescued by a kind and loving old gentleman. As soon as that taste of compassion comes along, it gets taken away and Oliver fights for that feeling of wholeness until the end.

Charles Dickens himself wrote this story pretty much out of direct experience. He worked in a workhouse himself and actually had someone named Fagin in his life.

Overall, I think that Oliver Twist is a great novel and I am very proud to have read it.


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