Oliver Twist Essay

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In Oliver Twist, Dickens sends a strong message of the interconnectedness of law, justice and morality through the stories of Nancy and Oliver. A product of poverty, caused by the law, Nancy faces a moral battle that is crucial in bringing together justice and law. Oliver, finding no protection in the law, instead receives true justice from people of good morals who take the law into their own hands. The law can push an individual into desperate circumstances and erode his or her goodness, yet an individual of good moral can use the law to bring justice to harmful citizens. None of the three elements stand alone, and an individual constantly moves in and out of these domains, influencing them and being influenced by them. The innocence of Oliver, symbolic of the Victorian belief in God’s purity found in a child (Hardy, 1983), is under threat of corruption and destruction through the workings of the law, a law that is devout of justice. Firstly, the Poor Law creates and sustains the prison-like environment for Oliver. As little food and comfort is given as possible. Living a life where love is denied and being severely underfed, Oliver however, retains his innocence. Secondly, the law almost ruins Oliver’s future by signing his indenture to the chimney sweeper. The law does not help the needy (Slater, 1974), it cares naught for the ones in its charge. Facing this adverse circumstance, Oliver could have succumbed to the hatred and all sorts of evils, but he sails through with his innocence intact. Thirdly, reaching the end of his tolerance, Oliver runs away to London, and that, is the law’s vilest product. The law ultimately facilitates his introduction to the criminal world – Fagin’s gang. This cause and effect link between the law and the people’s fall into crime is one prominent theme of Dickens’ (Slater, 1974). With Fagin, Oliver learns how to pick pockets. On

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