The Readers Review: Literature from 1800 to 1910 discussion

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Archived - The Dickens Project > Oliver Twist - Conclusion

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message 1: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (LorettaLucia) Please discuss the end of the novel below.


message 2: by Robin (new)

Robin | 817 comments I'm still confused about Oliver's family tree and how Rose is his sister.But that may be because I wasn't really interested. That is true when I read mysteries, which I do frequently. The least interesting thing about them for me is who did it. What I like is the characters and the setting, especially if it's in a different time or place, and also memorable scenes.
When I referred to "the last time we see Sykes" in an earlier week, I meant when he ends up accidentally hanging himself. That whole scene is very vivid. The excitement of the crowd is quite disturbing.
The final chapter telling you what happens to everyone was a convention of the time, as I understand. Basically the good characters are rewarded and the bad ones punished. Hard to imagine Mr and Mrs Bumble as inmates in the workhouse. They seem like they are sneaky enough to get ahead no matter what.


message 3: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 48 comments Oliver's father, who was also Monk's father, fell in love with a sweet young woman of a good family (I think her father may have been a widowed retired military man--he also had a much younger daugher, Rose). So I guess Rose is Oliver's aunt.
I'm not sure if the news that Rose was legitimate made her better marraige material or if her future husband had burned his bridges. I got the feeling that all "stain" had been wiped from Rose's reputation by the end of the novel.
I agree about the scene of Bill Sykes death. Very violent in its description. Disturbing.


message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin | 817 comments That's what I thought, that Rose was Oliver's aunt, but doesn't he call her "sister" ?- of course she is a relatively young aunt.


message 5: by Zulfiya (last edited Dec 20, 2011 09:35PM) (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Oliver actually clearly stated that he wanted to call her a sister and have her as a sister: "Not aunt," cried Oliver, throwing his arms about her neck; "I'll never call her aunt- sister, my own dear sister, that something taught my heart to love so dearly from the first! Rose, dear, darling Rose!"
Though strictly speaking, she is his aunt.


message 6: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 24 comments Jenny wrote: "Oliver's father, who was also Monk's father, fell in love with a sweet young woman of a good family (I think her father may have been a widowed retired military man--he also had a much younger daug..."

I don't understand the part about Harry's "burning his bridges." What opportunity did he forego to be a clergyman? How does his being a clergyman make it acceptable for him to wed Rose? I'm missing something. Also, when the facts came out, we learned that Rose's sister gave birth out of wedlock. Why does this mean that only a clergyman can wed her? Confused.


message 7: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Rose is not illegitimate - Monk's evil mother had spread that rumour to hurt the family. Mrs Maylie took her in as an orphan. Harry burned his bridges as a politician but now he is a clergyman scandal won't affect him as much.


message 8: by MadgeUK (last edited Dec 21, 2011 01:30PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Deos anyone feel sorry about Fagin's death? I feel there was a lot of good about his character and that he should have been spared. Some film and theatrical versions have him walking off into a new future with the Artful Dodger.


message 9: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 24 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Rose is not illegitimate - Monk's evil mother had spread that rumour to hurt the family. Mrs Maylie took her in as an orphan. Harry burned his bridges as a politician but now he is a clergyman scan..."
Thanks for the explanation. I missed the politician part.


message 10: by Joyce (new)

Joyce | 24 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Deos anyone feel sorry about Fagin's death? I feel there was a lot of good about his character and that he should have been spared. Some film and theatrical versions have him walking off into a n..."

I thought Fagin should have been spared. Not because there was good in him but because he didn't do anything bad enough to justify execution. To me Fagin wasn't a well-rounded character. Not fully human. Compare him to Madame in Uncle Silas. I thought she was a comic monster with a human side. For example, towards the end Madame would have saved Maud if Maud hadn't been so dense (young?). But then Uncle Silas was a novel, and OT was a penny dreadful. What good did you see in Fagin?


message 11: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 48 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Deos anyone feel sorry about Fagin's death?

I have a problem with capital punishment and so felt bad about Fagin's death.

But of all the characters here, he was the most ruthless and exact. He planned to manipulate Besty to kill Sykes for his (Fagin's) gain. Then as events changed, he quickly goads Sykes into killing her--to insure his secerets are not revealed. Sykes' was a crime of passion and Fagin's crime a meditated act.
After reading where Sykes helps during the fire, Dickens gave me a little piece to actually like and feel sorry for the man when he was trapped and died. He really was like an animal throughout the novel.


message 12: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 48 comments Joyce wrote: "To me Fagin wasn't a well-rounded character..."

I think Fagin was the most developed character in O.T. Like your comparison to Madame. "Comic monster" is perfect for her.


message 13: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments I was reading the final chapter of happiness and bliss early in the morning in the DFW international airport where I was stranded due to inclement weather and had to spend a four-hour night in some awful hotel where I was sent as a distress passenger. While I was reading this final chapter I was longing so much for their peaceful, placid, tranquil existence - I wanted this happiness so much, this routine of peaceful rural life, this serenity. And this feeling was intensified by the inadequate environment where the reading actually took place. Maybe, if I had been reading this chapter on my couch or in the rocking chair, I would have defined it as corky, trite, or too melodramatic and sweet, but then in the airport, finally expecting the boarding, this chapter of bliss and happiness made a perfect sense.


message 14: by Robin (new)

Robin | 817 comments What amazed me was that Fagin could be arrested, tried, and hung in such a short time. Nothing moves that quickly today. Dickens seems to show he wasn't even a good Jew because he refused the services of rabbis sent to speak with him.


message 15: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I guess there were fewer criminals (smaller population) then, so the system was quicker.


message 16: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments This Guardian article reports on the current popularity of Dickens and the relevance of his work to today's issues surrounding poverty:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfr...


message 17: by Zulfiya (last edited Dec 24, 2011 10:40AM) (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments And my two pennies - here is a a list of programs from BBC radio 4. This short radio season will celebrate the works of Charles Dickens.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/...

Some of the shows are available as podcasts.
Radio 4 is an excellent resource especially for people who live outside the UK where BBC TV programs are not available.


message 18: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments I will re-post it in another thread Dickens Project : Background Information & Resources


message 19: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Yes, Radio 4 is a superb daily programme with all sort of literary goodies on it. There are also several Dickens' treats coming up on BBC TV over the Xmas season for those outside the UK who have satellite TV.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tv...

Look out for this BBC production of Great Expectations on BBC1 on the 27th December, which promises to be a real treat:-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tv...

(Check out the link to Clair Tomalin's article.)


message 20: by Tango (new)

Tango | 13 comments I enjoyed the ending. I found Fagin to be a really interesting character. Whilst he was terribly cunning and evil he does feed and give shelter to Oliver where he otherwise would have been left to die in the street. I know that this was set up by Monks, but it seems like so much of society (not just the criminals) was cruel towards the poor. I remember a town mentioned where there were signs warning against begging. But Fagin did bring about the death of Nancy and many others who were executed and he never repented.
Others have mentioned how one dimensional Oliver appears which is the one slight disappointment of the book. He appears to be more of a vehicle for others than a real person.
Dickens certainly addresses many issues in this book: the plight of the poor(especially women and children) and the lack of support from government and the abuse by those in charge of places such as the workhouse. He is critical of religion at times too.
Whilst this was not my favorite Dickens I would certainly recommend it to others.


message 21: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Tango wrote: "I enjoyed the ending. I found Fagin to be a really interesting character. Whilst he was terribly cunning and evil he does feed and give shelter to Oliver where he otherwise would have been left to ..."

It has its moments, but I agree - it is not his best. I would say it is a typical second novel.:-)


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The Readers Review: Literature from 1800 to 1910

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