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Thievery in Oliver Twist, an Analysis

Oliver Twist
This project will try to help you find out the answers for the questions below:

“Oliver Twist is full of thievery. Some of it is committed by criminals like Sikes against respectable people like the Maylies, while some of it is committed by “respectable” people like Mrs. Mann and Mr. Bumble against poor. How are these two types of thievery different? What do they have in common? Also, consider the various ways in which other people “rob” Oliver of his identity. What does the prevalence of thievery in the novel say about the world that it portrays?”


The story Oliver Twist is the masterpiece of Charles Dickens who lived in the 18th century. Although his family lived a poor life, Charles Dickens lived as rich and famous in his lifetime. With Oliver Twist, he wants to make it clear to his readers and the public that in their world they lived in, there were many crimes done by “respectable” people against poor and by poor people against respectable ones. Therefore, the public would be shocked by his this work and it really worked. In Oliver Twist, Bill Sikes is the brutal criminal and he lives a poor life. His crimes always are against the respectable people. There are also Mrs. Mann and Mr. Bumble who are other thieves or criminals in spite of their “respects” in the story. These thieves, criminals, are from different walks of lives but in common, they have the adjective “criminal” for themselves. In the story, Oliver Twist has a hard life. Because, his identity sometimes is changed by careless people and he is left alone in life. The world the story portrays is the crime’s life or its place in our world that is full of criminals and crimes.

First of all, thievery is a bad behavior for all of the people. In the novel, the crimes thieves that Bill Sikes commits, who is portrayed as the most brutal one, are against respectable people. Bill has jealousy in himself for the rich people and that is why he wants to make their lives become what they do not want to it to be. For this purpose, he commits crimes but also, he does not want to be like them, a rich person. Because, he believes that rich people are not good so, he wants them to be like him in a way maybe he wants them to suffer because of that they make him a criminal. In the novel, this fact is not directly given but once one think about why a person commits a crime, the answer to that would be because he is poor, he needs what he steals, or the inferiority complex inside of them which comes out from the thoughts of them that they would not be a rich and respectable people like them. Bill Sikes hates their respectable situation but also hates being respected because of the feelings against them.

The other crime committed by Mrs. Mann is not just a crime. It is a pity that she does it against poor. Actually, she has a pity thought for them. She is angry with their families, so she believes she can decrease her sore by behaving in this way. Does she have right to do that? Of course not. It starts when we ask this question. Why? Is she respectable person? Yes. Does she have enough salary; we cannot know that. However, we know that she has something inside her that makes her steal the money that is supposed to be spent for the orphans. Although she can have a normal life and a happy life, she has some problems. These problems may actually be psychological ones. As I mentioned before, she is obsessed with the families of orphans, she is angry with them because they left their children alone. At the end, it is again a crime doing that.

Another one who is a criminal in the novel is Mr. Bumble. What does he do? He treats the orphans badly. Charles Dickens, here with the character as Mr. Bumble, criticizes the Victorian era. As known, in this era there is classification among people. People are made to believe that if they have money they would be respected if not they would not. Mr. Bumble, as his character must do its job to represent the class difference, treats the children, orphans, not pitifully but mercilessly. This crime actually is the public’s crime, too. If there is a classification, there it is because the public adopt it. Charles Dickens did not want this difference among people so he created that character and the others as well.

These criminals in Oliver Twist, especially Bill Sikes, Mrs. Mann, and Mr. Bumble represent the crime world in the 18th century. Charles Dickens created them for a purpose. It was the intention to make people realize the facts in their lives. These criminals differ from each other according to their purpose of committing crimes. Mrs. Mann has an internal affair against poor so she commits it; also, her aim is to be wealthier. Mr. Bumble is another different character who is guilty in society normally but he represents different thing in the novel. While he is supposed to make the orphans be a useful citizen, he maltreats them as a matter of classification. Bill Sikes has something special feature in the novel. The crimes he commits are both psychological that concerns the public and sociological that concerns the world. He is a bad man and inside of him, there is an evil. He has no pity inside but jealousy against rich people as well as hate for them. He does everything that may pretend him, or reaching his purpose; as he killed poor Nancy who has pity inside. Nancy has pity for all of the people; but she commits crimes, and steals something just to live, or maybe fear of Bill. Anyway, Bill Sikes has no mercy, which is the last to say.

When all is said and done, in the novel “Oliver Twist,” the criminals all represent the classes of criminals in the 18th century. Bill Sikes is the cruelest one and has no feeling and pity in him. He has just the feeling of jealousy and hate against rich people. He wants to take revenge from them because he believes that he is a criminal because of them. He does not want to be a rich because he knows when he is, he would be also a person that is hated by a criminal who thinks rich people are the responsible for the situation that he is in. apparently he has psychological problems. Mrs. Mann is also a thief. She is really in a pitiful situation because she steals the money of orphans. She is supposed to spend that money to take care of the orphans and to buy clothes and food for them. Maybe because she blames the orphans for they have not good families. Mr. Bumble is just going after his life and he is chasing the “respect.” Overall, Charles Dickens shows us the realities, and the wrongs of the world of that time with these “fantastic” characters.


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