Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oliver Twist

When I think of Marxism and class conflict in the work of 19th century literature my mind goes right to Oliver Twist. We see examples of class conflict and religion deeply engrained in Charles Dickens’ novel. Oliver is born into a poor house and is mistreated by those who run the poor house in the name of being God’s servants. The rejection of religion or at least the rejection of the actions of those who pretend to serve it are presented in this section. After he finally runs away from the poor house he makes his way to London which shows even more clearly the divide between classes. The streets and people are all dirty messes. When Oliver is taken in by the artful dodger we see another side of the underclass, thievery.  They are first class cons in an attempt to survive. Later we are introduced to the refined upper class through the characters of Rose Maylie and Mr. Brownlow who take Oliver in and eventually provide him with a safe home and comfort. They provide a contrast to the problems of the poor industrial inner cities which clearly represent the proletariat society.  

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