Watershed Online

Vine Stylesheet

A Response to Oliver Twist

Why I picked up Oliver Twist in the first place was quite reasonable. It was the end of the day and I'd heard it was a classic. I felt I was up to the challenge. After getting halfway through Twist by reading it in quirky old-style British accents I thought, "I've lost my mind!" So with the help of friends, I decided to listen to it as accompaniment, one chapter a day, to get through the incredibly detailed, rich language. Authors, apparently, were paid 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. It was not instantly gratifying but after a while I got the feeling of deep enjoyment that grows roots. These old classics have something to say about our rich heritage. They speak of issues and ways of the past 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 young Oliver's childhood and how he is constantly in the worst of situations through the simple facts that he was born a ‘bastard’ child and is 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 book is the contextually trivial yet daring act of how Oliver gets picked to ask for more gruel. "Please sir, can I have some more?" It has captivated people because of its sheer innocence and sincerity. It's interesting 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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