In Oliver Twist, did Monks deserve to receive half of his father's money?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Oliver Twist, it can be argued both ways that Monks did or did not "deserve" half of his father's, Mr. Leeford's, estate. The word "deserve" is one with duality inherent within it because of its definition. It can mean to be qualified for or to have a claim to something because of situation or qualities. By this definition, Monks, aka Edward Leeford, does deserve half of the estate because by situation he is his father's son.

The word "deserve" can also mean to be worthy of something based on qualities and merit. By this definition, Monks does not deserve to inherit half of his father's estate because there is nothing in his criminal, vengeful, angry life that makes him worthy or meritorious. The answer to the question of whether Monk deserves the inheritance depends on personal preference of definition choice, on which one is thought to be most suited to the facts of Monks' experience. Personally, I'd say that based on his vengefulness and his behavior after Oliver splits the inheritance with him, he did not deserve it based on situation of birth because he did not deserve it by worthiness or meritoriousness (merit: excellent qualities, able to be respected and praised).

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Oliver Twist

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