Please Sir, I Want Some More. (Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens)

January 14, 2013 Classics, Coming of Age 32

Hello my lovely Bookworms,

I just finished reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. After having my heart broken watching Les Miserables and recalling what an awesome character Gavroche was, I had a hankering for some street urchin that only Dickens could cure. I know some of you are thinking, “Ewww classics…” True, Dickens isn’t a fan of brevity. Clear concise prose is over-rated! Why use a single word when you can use 20? His sentences meander like the streets of London. Get into the spirit, y’all!

oliver twist

Please sir, I want some more.

Poor Oliver Twist! His mother dies in childbirth and he’s left to be reared in a workhouse. Ah yes. What’s a workhouse? Well. Governments have been trying to figure out what to do about poor people for a long time. In Dickens’s day, the solution to the problem was the workhouse. The English government figured they should feed their people, but they didn’t want them getting too comfortable being housed and fed and all, so they made the workhouses as unpleasant as possible. Families were separated into male and female dormitories. They were forced into uniforms. They were fed extremely little, and what they were fed was basically gruel. Yeah. Gruel is a thing. Also, they were forced to work to earn their room and board. Basically, it was a giant pile of suck, and Oliver was born into it.

One day young Oliver, after having the gall to ask for a second meager portion of his daily gruel, was labeled a bad seed. The parish wanted to get the ungrateful bastard out of their hair, so they decided to apprentice him out to a cruel undertaker. After having his fill of the abuse there and lashing out at his tormentor, Oliver runs away and decides to try his luck on the streets of London.

He’s quickly swept into a charismatic gang of pick pockets and hustlers. The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Bill Sykes, and Nancy make a colorful crew. Regardless of the sticky situations Oliver finds himself in, his inner goodness cannot be extinguished. From time to time, I was a little annoyed with Oliver… He can be kind of a weenie. Oliver’s story twists and turns through kidnappings and secrets and family scandals until he’s finally delivered a happy ending. Even though Oliver lacked a certain moxie, it’s hard to argue with giving the kid a happy ending.

What about you, Bookworms? Who’s read Oliver Twist? Who enjoys the Dickens? Tell me about it!

32 Responses to “Please Sir, I Want Some More. (Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens)”

  1. Charleen

    Well, I saw my high school’s production of Oliver! (and don’t remember it at all). And I when I was a kid I saw the movie Oliver and Company (and don’t remember it at all). Does that count?

  2. Liesel Hill

    I actually haven’t read Oliver Twist, but I LOVE Dickens. I actually think I’m related to him, you know, ten generations back and twice removed or something. I’ve seen several film and play versions of Oliver, though. I’ll get around to reading him someday. And maybe then even *gasp* David Copperfield. 😀

  3. ashley

    I thought my hubby was the only person who used the word “hankering” lol. Ive been In a classic mood lately and just re-read Great Expectations and Alice in wonderland. Ive already downloaded Les mis and Oliver Twist. Can’t wait to read!

    • Words for Worms

      Alice in Wonderland. Sigh. Love it soooo much. Les Mis! Love it soooo much. Great Expectations makes me think of freshman year of high school… Needless to say, not my favorite.

  4. therelentlessreader

    I loooove me some Dickens! He’s hilarious and I could read him all year long. But yea, he does tend to go on and on and ON doesn’t he?

    • Words for Worms

      Yes! I’m always surprised by how funny he is. If you can tell a joke someone gets 150 years later, you’ve got to be doing SOMETHING right. Even if you have a penchant for looooong sentences.

  5. Kelly

    I read this book two years ago, and honestly, I could not get past how much I disliked Oliver. I’ll just say it: he’s a whiny b*tch. Dickens can go on and on for days (I’ve grown immune to that with Stephen KIng) but I can’t stand a spineless main character!

  6. Darlene

    The only Dickens I’ve read is A Christmas Carol but A Tale of Two Cities and Our Mutual Friend are both on my reading challenge list and I hope to have them read sometime in the next 18 months. (I have my “To Read” list pretty planned out per month with some “free spaces” planned here or there to read just what I feel like reading at the time).

    Not related, but kinda, have you read “What- The- Dickens The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire??:)

    • Words for Worms

      I haven’t read that one, but I did enjoy Wicked and Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. I petered out halfway through Lion Among Men, but I dig his style. I really wish he’d written a version of Little Red Riding Hood so I could use it in my upcoming project fairy tale! Sigh…

  7. H. Stern

    I read Oliver, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression. What DID was learning that kids like him, his age, and other pickpockets, were regularly hung for their crimes. Like… KIDS. KIDS WERE HUNG.

    Also, I think Fagan was supposed to be a Jew. Which was insulting. But hell, coming from a society that condemned 7 year olds to death, I suppose I can’t expect the moon and the stars here.

    • Words for Worms

      Oh yeah. Little kids. Brutal time. And yeah, Fagin is referred to as “The Jew” constantly… But you know. Hanging kids. Gruel. Not a great time to be alive.

  8. Sarah Says Read

    I’ve never read Oliver Twist, or seen the plays. Gotta love some street urchins though – like Kvothe in The Name of the Wind, or that poor little kid in Sweeney Todd. I’ll get around to this one eventually – I still need to finish Great Expectations, which I started back in October or November but I’m more than halfway through so I really should finish it soonish. (Seriously though, Dickens is WORDY.)

    • Words for Worms

      Ooooh I love the kid from Sweeney Todd! I’d forgotten about him. Dickens is one wordy dude, you’ve got to be in the right mindset to tackle it. I feel like I deserve some fluffy reading now.

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