Oliver Twist



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1) Oliver Twist Summary
Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse in a provincial town. His mother has been found very sick in the street, and she gives birth to Oliver just before she dies. Oliver is raised under the care of Mrs. Mann and the beadle Mr. Bumble in the workhouse. One day Noah Claypole insults Oliver’s dead mother and the small and frail Oliver attacks him. However, Oliver is punished severely, and he runs away to London. Here he is picked up by Jack Dawkins who is a member of the Fagin’s gang of boys. Fagin has trained the boys to become pickpockets. One of the victim , the old benevolent gentleman Mr. Brownlow rescues Oliver from arrest and brings him to his house and for the first time in his life he is happy. One day Fagin kidnaps Oliver. Fagin is prompted to do this by the mysterious Mr. Monks. Oliver is taken along on a burglary expedition in the country. The thieves are discovered in the house of Mrs. Maylie and her adopted niece, Rose, here Oliver is shot and wounded. Rose and Mrs. Maylie nurse the wounded Oliver. When he tells them his story they believe him, and he settles with them. Monks’ plot against Oliver is disclosed : Oliver’s father’s will states that he will leave money to Oliver on the condition that his reputation is clean. Oliver’s discovers that his mother and Rose were sisters. Monks receives his share of the inheritance and goes away to America. He dies in prison there, and Oliver is adopted by Mr. Brownlow.

beadle sagrestano workhouse casa di lavoro frail fragile
picked up preso rescues salva kidnaps rapisce is prompted to indotto
burglary furto con scasso settles si sistema

2) Hard Times Summary
It is the story of the family of Thomas Gradgrind and take place in Coketown, an industrial city . Gradgrind is a man obsessed with ‘Utilitarian’ values, based upon James Mill (the Utilitarian leader).He directs his own children, Louisa and Tom, in this same way: enforcing an artless existence upon them. He makes Louisa marry Josiah Bounderby who is thirty years her elder. James Harthouse arrives and seduces her so she can escape her constricted life. Her father Tom steals from the bank and dishonestly tries to shift the blame. He does so successfully for a time but eventually gets found out and must leave the country.
artless semplice shift the blame incolpare qualcun altro found out scoperto
3) Utilitarian philosophy
Utilitarianism is a modern form of the Hedonistic ethical theory which teaches that the end of human conduct is happiness, and that it is possibile to discriminate right and wrong with discrimanting pleasure and pain. It is an ethical doctrine that believes the moral value of an action is determined by its contribution to utility. It has been differently defined by various thinkers while nowadays there is a tendency to consider only the well being of humans when interpreting this doctrine.Thomas Gradgrind is an educator that teaches to pupils by facts, neglecting theyr imagination and emotions: this method bring to children that can’t use their imagination. This inhibits creativeness and mind development.
Pleasure piacere pain dolore value valore well being benesesre
inhibits inibisce creativeness creatività mind development. Sviluppo mentale
4a) World of orphans
Poverty during Victorian period was atrocious. Many children lived in conditions that we would find shocking today, so it was very common that many of them chose a life of crime rather than begin full time work as young as five or the slow starvation that workhouses inflicted. Certainly there was some attempt to provide children with some education at the workhouses, and there were charity schools organised by churches, but most of them gave children only a poor place to stay, and and a bit of education There also were some people that took advantage from the situation. For example the children in Fagin’s gang hadn’t a job, so they “worked” as organised pick pockets . Fagin in return offered them food and shelter.
starvation fame attempt tentativo took advantage approfittavano
pick pockets borseggiatori return in cambio shelter rifugio
b) Setting
In the extremely stratified English class structure, the highest social class belonged to the “gentleman,” an aristocrat who did not have to work for his living. The middle class was stigmatized for having to work, and so, to alleviate the stigma attached to middle-class wealth, the middle class promoted work as a moral virtue. This behaviour led English society to subject the poor to hatred and cruelty. Many members of the middle class were anxious to be differentiated from the lower classes, and one way to do so was to stigmatize the lower classes as lazy good-for-nothings. The middle class transformed earned wealth into a sign of moral virtue. Victorian society interpreted economic success as a sign that God favored the honest, moral virtue of the successful individual’s efforts, and interpreted the condition of poverty as a sign of the weakness of the poor individual.
Wealth ricchezza virtue virtù behaviour comportamento led condurre efforts sforzo
c) Victorian hypocrisy
Dickens uses Oliver Twist as a mechanism to criticise workhouses and the treatment of the poor during this period. Dickens was a radical writer, who used his writing to promote public awareness of issues such as poverty. This is not as clear as it might at first seem. So some critics have said that Dickens fails to criticise other social problems.
awareness consapevolezza issues distribuire
5a) point of wiew
He gives a realistic portrait of Victorian society and to urge social reforms. (humanitarism and philantropic feelings). The most recurring themes in Dickens's novels are childhood and social criticism, infact describing the life of children, Dickens criticizes the social institutions and the social conditions of the industrial revolution, which forced children to work in the workhouses in miserable conditions.
portrait ritratto
b) novelist’s position
Charles Dickens is the symbol of the deep contradictions typical of the Victorian Age and embodies what was both positive and negative in it. He condemned the rigidity of the Victorian morality but he was imbued with it: he denounced the evils of his society but he was not able to propose radical solutions for them. He identifies the origin of social evils in man’s hypocrisy, lack of love and greed for money.
embodies personificare imbued imbevere lack mancare
c) narrative mode
The fact of writing for a magazine made him to conform to the public taste in using a melodramatic tone and in introducing an atmosphere of suspance at the end of every part. In particular he pleases lower-middle-classes readers, because they found their lives and problems mirrored by his novels and the upper-classes readers, which share the humanitarian feelings toward the poor people.

pleases piace share condividere mirrored rispecchiati
d) kind of narrator
In his novels the events are narrated by a third person narrator, but often they are seen through the eyes of the protagonist.

6) compare victorian novelists
Dickens belongs to the first generation of victorian novelists, so he speaks about his own time and about social changes. In particular he criticizes some aspects of society (law-workhouses), but he respects the structure and the political system in general. His novel take place in the cities and shows the effects of industrialization. He criticise victorian use, but give the impression to defend the best part of it, like the generosità of rich people.

The second generation novelists, like Thomas Hardy, were consiouss of hypocrisy of their own time and they criticize all the aspects of society. He devised human situations compounded of a mixture of irony and tragedy: his descriptions of the villages, fields, the seasons are indicative of his concept of man’s conflict with nature. Most of Hardy’s novels are set in the countryside and show his affection for the vanishing agricultural world in the face of increasing urbanization. Hardy’s wish to represent life in some of its most dark and cruel aspects in contrast with the Victorian’s readers who represented life as they thought it ought to be.