Oliver Twist: Theme Analysis

Average Overall Rating: 4.5
Total Votes: 240

Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan boy who reflects the life of poverty in England in the 1830's.  The story illustrates the evils of the Poor House's of the time and the corruption of the people who work there.  It also shows the depths of London's crime with an emphasis on petty robbery and pick pocketing. 
The main evil character of the novel, Fagin, also referred to as "The Jew", is characterized as a money pincher with no true affections.  His main goals are to exploit the people around him so he can better his station and strengthen his power. Fagin himself represents the evils of greed and unholiness.  Oliver, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.  Innocent, and loving, Oliver represents all that is good in society.  He abhors the thought of stealing, violence, or mistreatment of any sort, and though he is eager to please will not go against the morals instilled in him.  He genuinely cares for others around him, and will do anything to make someone want to keep him. 
Oliver Twist is a story about the battles of good versus evil, with the evil continually trying to corrupt and exploit the good.  It portrays the power of Love, Hate, Greed, and Revenge and how each can affect the people involved.  The love between Rose and Harry in the end conquers all the obstacles between them.  The hate that Monks feels for Oliver and the greed he feels towards his inheritance eventually destroys him.  The revenge that Sikes inflicts on Nancy drives him almost insane and eventually to accidental suicide. Dickens' wide array of touching characters emphasizes the virtues of sacrifice, compromise, charity, and loyalty.  Most importantly, though the system for the poor is not changed, the good in Dickens' novel outweighs the evil, and the main characters that are part of this good live happily ever after.