“Come,” said Mr. Bumble, somewhat less pompously, for it was gratifying to his feelings to observe the effect his eloquence had produced; “come, Oliver! Wipe your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket, and don’t cry into your gruel; that’s a very foolish action, Oliver.” It certainly was, for there was quite enough water in it already.
Charles Dickens | Oliver Twist | p. 23
Dearest fellow readers, I hope you had a lovely Christmas break and found some time to relax and recover from every day’s hustle. As for now, drumroll please, because this will be the last review that I will be publishing in 2018 – and it is the last of the ‘6 english Classics in 2018’ which I read this year.
Early in December I started reading ‘Oliver Twist’ and for the first time got a taste of the Dickensian writing style – and I loved it! As I have mentioned before, it might have taken me some time to finish it (almost twenty days). Possible reasons: the book consists of roughly 500 pages and I mostly read it during lunch break at work or on the ride to work and back home. Nevertheless, this book was thrilling and full of suspense and I simply wanted to keep reading.
‘Oliver Twist’, the timeless classic written by Charles Dickens, is about the boy Oliver Twist, who is born in a workhouse and grows up to be an orphan, awfully mistreated by his superiors and loved and cared for by none. That is, until certain events lead to his arrival in London, and meeting people who see good in him and those who see only their own profit. In 1837, the story about young orphan Oliver Twist has been published in parts as a serial novel and is mainly concerned with themes of poverty, the good and the bad, and how a pure young soul has to resist the temptations offered by common thieves leading rough lives in the dark and secluded streets of London.
“What an excellent example of the power of dress young Oliver Twist was! Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar; it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society. But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once – a parish child – the orphan of a workhouse – the humble, half-starved drudge – to be cuffed and buffeted through the world – despised by all and pitied by none.” – p. 4
Lead by Charles Dickens’ almost flowery writing style, the reader encounters whatever Oliver Twist has to endure during the years of his childhood. You can almost touch the damp walls of the thieves’ hiding place, can almost see the kind faces of Oliver’s benefactors, can almost hear the whispers behind closed doors. Charles Dickens knows how to create a gripping and very believable atmosphere. I really enjoyed the melodramatics, as well. What can I say, I loved it in Dracula, I adored in The String of Pearls, I might as well admit I’m a sucker for melodramatics in Victorian Literature. It’s just utterly entertaining!
“My dear young lady,” rejoined the surgeon, mournfully shaking his head, “crime, like death, is not confined to the old and withered alone. The youngest and fairest are too often its chosen victims.” – p. 262
Although the book is about the process of young Oliver Twist (and meanwhile the reader is rooting for him to stay as pure and goodhearted like the little angel that he is), there are a good many passages where the story follows the actions of Fagin, the thief, who first takes Oliver in, or Mr. Brownlow, who cares for the little boy in his sickness. With this, the story is created like a puzzle that has to be solved by the reader (and by the protagonists, as well). In that manner, the reader goes through well planned moments of fear for Oliver, just before being relieved of that fear in another chapter – and vice versa. It is a lovely book about dark and important themes and topics, and I’d like to recommend it to any of you who haven’t read it yet. Even if it is just for all those wise thoughts and comments of the author himself or the driest of humors (I’m here for all of it!).
“We need be careful how we deal with those about us, when every death carries to some small circle of survivors thoughts of so much omitted, and so little done – of so many things forgotten, and so many more which might have been repaired! There is no remorse so deep as that which is unavailing; if we would be spared its tortures, let us remember this in time.” – p. 300
I for one can’t wait to read another of Charles Dickens’ works – fortunately, next year’s reading list already has Dickens’ name on it!
Author: Charles Dickens
Title: Oliver Twist
Press: Penguin Classics
Year of publication: this edition: 1992, first published in 1837
[Genre: Classics / Victorian Literature / Serial Novel]