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 Oliver Twist

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Laura
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PostSubject: Oliver Twist   Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:25 am

"Oliver Twist" (along with "Dorian Gray") is on my December reading list. I started yesterday night, and I love it - especially the irony bordering on cynicism and sometimes caricature. I'm only about fifty pages in, but I think I'll finish it by tomorrow.

What did you guys think of it?

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March Hare
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PostSubject: Re: Oliver Twist   Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:47 pm

Wow, you're fast, Dickens usually takes me quite some time...
I think Dickens was more enjoyable in Oliver Twist than in A Tale of Two Cities. His writing style is more direct, and the plot moves along more quickly than A Tale of Two Cities, in which he occasional pauses while nothing much happens. There's also a bit of a mystery that shrouds Oliver, especially concerning his parentage, which is later revealed, which made the novel more captivating.

His characters in Oliver Twist range greatly. As far as Oliver goes, he is the depiction of innocence and childhood purity. Although that's nothing bad in itself, and causes heartwarming scenes, his personality was slightly predictable, and as a consequence did not interest me as much as the other characters (Fagin, Mr.Bumble, etc).
My favorite character in the novel was probably Nancy. Of course, she was created to evoke love and sympathy from the reader.
Oliver Twists' prose is not bad either. Dickens was really an artist as he paints the dark London streets, and there's something about him that transports the reader where he is. The annoying and lovable characteristics and complex personalities all add to the realness of it all.
Loved the novel, hope you enjoy it as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Oliver Twist   Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:23 am

I agree with March Hare, that Oliver himself isn't always as interesting as the cast of supporting characters. And again, I have to agree about Nancy. She is my favourite character. For reasons that you will discover as you continue to read, the most complex character in the novel is Fagin. His character is neither fundamentally good, nor fundamentally evil.
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Laura
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PostSubject: Re: Oliver Twist   Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:43 pm

Kathryn wrote:
I agree with March Hare, that Oliver himself isn't always as interesting as the cast of supporting characters. And again, I have to agree about Nancy. She is my favourite character. For reasons that you will discover as you continue to read, the most complex character in the novel is Fagin. His character is neither fundamentally good, nor fundamentally evil.

I cannot agree about Nancy yet, but I still have about a hundred pages to go. Fagin is clearly neither evil nor good. But I do have a problem with Dickens' striking antisemitism. Every jew that turns up is described as "repulsive" and / or "vile", and includes in his behaviour all the characteristics that the typical prejudice comprises.

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PostSubject: Re: Oliver Twist   Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:30 am

Laura wrote:
[
I cannot agree about Nancy yet, but I still have about a hundred pages to go. Fagin is clearly neither evil nor good. But I do have a problem with Dickens' striking antisemitism. Every jew that turns up is described as "repulsive" and / or "vile", and includes in his behaviour all the characteristics that the typical prejudice comprises.

I agree regarding Dicken's anti-Semitism. Sadly it is a reflection of the place and era in which Dicken's lived - where any non-Christians or foreigners were regarded with deep suspicion. I suspect that Dicken's himself knew very little about Judaism and it is unlikely that he knew anyone who was Jewish. He most likely did not know any better.

I think anyone reading Oliver Twist today (or for that matter, Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice",) would rightly be disgusted by Dicken's describing any jew as "repulsive" or "vile".
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Laura
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PostSubject: Re: Oliver Twist   Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:42 pm

What irritates me so much is that Dickens seems to be pretty much free of prejudice in just about any other circumstance. Whether someone is poor or rich, stupid or smart, a pillar of society or a scoundrel, all of them are described with at least some respect. But the Jews, none of who belong to the most detestable characters in the story, are reviled. Somehow, that doesn't match up.

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