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Essay on Social Criticism in Oliver Twist

September 6, 2010

Free sample essay on Oliver Twist:
Charles Dickens wrote “Oliver Twist” in 1849 with the zeal of a reformer in order to expose the ugliness of material of the Victorian Age. He was a ruthless critic of the Victorian Society. A note of social satire runs through almost all his novels.

“Pickwick Papers” was hilarious comedy still it exposed the corruption rampant in the election system and the general law, moral climate of the society. But with “Oliver Twist” Dickens almost emerged as a crusader against the social evils of his times. In “Oliver Twist”, “Nicholas Nickleby”, “Bleak House”, “Hard Times” and “Little Dorrit”, he flayed (highly criticized) the social institutions with devastating force. Edmund Wilson remarks that Dickens was “of all the great Victorian writers probably most antagonist to the Victorian Age itself.” Along with giving poetic shape to the better characteristics of English life, he also attacked the abuses in the society “especially in the workhouse (poor and beggar’s dwelling), educational system, pawn-broken (shroff) shops, slums, delay in law offices, all the London Haunts of crime and pain. Dickens was the advocate of the downtrodden and the oppressed. He aroused the conscience of the public and he became the heart and conscience of England. “He is the master of our sunniest smiles and our most unselfish tears”, Lord Carlisle remarked. His age was an age of transition. The Industrial Revolution was rapid gaining power and England was changing from a country that was mainly agricultural to a country that was mainly industrial. Dickens criticizes the society in almost exclusively moral way. His criticism reminds us of the grave folds common more or less to all mankind. He was truly a Victorian and yet he is for all ages….

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