What is a good thesis statement for Oliver Twist and how can it be defended?

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lfawley's profile pic

lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I think that you could also look at the use of disguise and misrepresentation in the novel. The most obvious is Oliver, the "twist" who is mistaken for rags when he actually comes from riches. The Monk's perpetuate this mistaken identity in order to serve their own aims of claiming Oliver's inheritance for themselves. Nancy pretends to be Oliver's sister by putting on middle class clothes in order to get Oliver back to Fagin. Clothes as a means of identifying social class are important. Oliver is stripped of his clothes and pout into pauper clothes. If I were writing a thesis for a paper on this work, I would consider looking at the outward representations of class and status as displayed by clothes and manner of speaking, and the way that these "disguises" can and are used to meet individual desires.

Dickens, in fact, uses this theme as a means of satirizing class structure in Victorian England. You could even gop on to look at other class representations that are symbolized by dress, such as the way in which the Fagin boys almost worship handkerchiefs which they like to steal. These are symbols of affluence. If you carry a handkerchief, you are assumed to be a member of the upper class. If you wear the clothes of a workhouse person, you are seen as a pauper. Again, this is a way Dickens uses outside appearances as a means of denoting class differences from the perspective that people are viewed by society and judged by society by the clothes that they wear.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The novel Oliver Twist is very typical of Dickens’s representation of the class discrepancies during the era.  The novel first appeared in 1838 ad presented the story of a young boy born to a woman with no means of caring for herself.  His mother dies in childbirth and he is abandoned to the orphanage and workhouse.

The twist in the story is that the boy is actually a young man who is descended from a good family line of people with wealth.  It is his appropriate family line that is depicted in his kindness and innocence.  The book almost makes it appear as if such a boy would have to be from an appropriate and acceptable family because he behaves so much better than the other poor boys.

I believe if I were going to be working on a thesis, I would compare how the boys are presented from the lower class community who has no family lineage with wealth and how Oliver is presented in his actions and behaviors.  One could see the foreshadowing in the story because of these facts to almost see that the other children have been stereotyped as the lower class.




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