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The Dickens Project - Archives > Oliver Twist - Week Six: Book 2, Chapters i-v

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message 1: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) Please post your thoughts below.


message 2: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) I'm halfway through this section. Will post in a day or two when I'm finished.


message 3: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
In the New York Times recently there was an article about the dying art of thieves who can slit the pockets of men sleeping (or drunk) on the subway and remove their wallets without the victim even noticing. It's a skill that was taught to apprentices just like in Oliver's day. Young thieves today find it easier to just grab ipods & such without any finesse, it seemed the reporter and the police had a certain romantic respect for the old guys.


message 4: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) Robin wrote: "In the New York Times recently there was an article about the dying art of thieves who can slit the pockets of men sleeping (or drunk) on the subway and remove their wallets without the victim even..."

LOL. That's quite funny (the romantic respect held by the reporter).


message 5: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
My edition isn't divided into books as the original was but I noticed that Book I ended on a cliffhanger with Oliver out of commission (readers wouldn't know if he was alive or dead).


message 6: by Zulfiya (last edited Nov 13, 2011 04:37PM) (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments Robin wrote: "My edition isn't divided into books as the original was but I noticed that Book I ended on a cliffhanger with Oliver out of commission (readers wouldn't know if he was alive or dead).".

You are not the only one, Robin, who had to manually recalculate the chapters to easily follow the reading schedule (excuse my split infinitives:-0).


message 7: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) | 1596 comments There are several points I would like to share:-)

1. Finally, the role of the beadle and Mrs. Corney is "fleshing out". They are in the novel to show the callous, hypocritical middle-class morality and to tell us the background history of Oliver Twist. (It is, after all, a speaking name as we hopefully will learn something about Oliver's past, though there were some hints when the reader could observe the uncanny similarity between Oliver and the lady in the picture).

2. I do really like the way Dickens made us imagine what actually happened to Oliver and what he was going through when he was left alone, bleeding, in the ditch. So many characters in these five chapters suffered from the cold weather and piercing gales of wind and not a single direct word about Oliver's plight.

3. Dickens named five his novels after his protagonists (Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and Little Dorrit). So far, Oliver is the most passive of those titular characters.


message 8: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2116 comments Mod
Yes, great points. I was also thinking about Oliver being so passive. He is dragged and carried off by multiple people, whether it's the beadle, the police, Fagin's boys, Bill Sikes, even the people who rescue him from the ditch. Of course he is a child, but so are the urchins employed by Fagin, and they are more active. In a way his passivity in their company is a form of resistance. He doesn't jump in and compete with them.


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