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Oliver Twist and the Dark Side of British HistoryProgress can be compared to a coin On one side of the coin is wealth and on the other side of the same coin are poverty despair misery and crime As Gertrude Himmelfarb explainsThe Victorians were avowedly unashamed incorrigibly moralists They engaged in philanthropic enterprises in part to satisfy their own moral needs And they were moralists in behalf of the poor whom they sought not only to assist materially but also to elevate morally spiritually culturally and intellectually Himmelfarb 48 In the novel Oliver Twist Charles Dickens allegorizes evil in contrast to good through characterization and melodrama As Greg Stoddard summed up Most of the moral judgements of the reader are pre-made for him or her As a result the reader objectively absorbs the moral lessons Dickens has set forth Stoddard 5 In his novel Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens uses characterization and social satire as a means of revealing a dark era of British historyGregory Stoddard writes In Oliver Twist there is a clear defined system of criticism and rhetoric marked by sarcasm and the language judgement Stoddard 1 The first words of Chapter 2 of Oliver Twist are an example In this chapter Dickens describes the situation in which the innocent Oliver finds himself He chooses his words carefully as he conveys his moralist judgements to his readerFor the next eight months Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception He was brought up by hand The hungry and destitute station of the infant orphan was duly reported the parish authoritiesresolved that Oliver should be farmedwhere twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor laws rolled about the floor without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing Dickens 4Dickens chooses the words treachery and deception to state his moral judgement on the evil of society Victim implies that there is a source
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