Explain how the following aspects of life are presented in Oliver Twist: Pregnant women, infant mortality, apprentices, lack of social service for the poor.
These questions are specifically for the Disney 1998 Oliver Twist movie, but in general they should have the same answer.
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Disney movies are known for sugar coating things, but only the ending where Oliver forgives Fagin is really sentimentalized in this version. Many of the other concepts are accurate, and there is even additional violence not in the book.
Oliver Twist is a story that demonstrates what might have happened to a pregnant woman in Victorian England if she had no husband. The movie (and the book) don’t go into much detail, but we know that Oliver survived and his mother did not live through his birth. As for infant mortality, Oliver is very lucky to have survived and we can see why. He lives in squalor and is barely fed. Dickens (and Disney) took great risk when portraying Nancy and the other prostitutes, but she is a sympathetic character.
Oliver is apprenticed to Sowerberry the undertaker for only a short time. We see the apprenticeship of the Artful Dodger and Fagin’s boys more closely. As in the book, Fagin plays games with them and gives them a place to stay. However, when they return empty-handed they risk punishment. The additional violence I spoke of comes from Fagin’s threatening Oliver when he sees the trinkets, and Sikes threatening Dodger when he loses Oliver. In the book Fagin holds Dodger and threatens to throttle him, in the movie, Sikes grabs and threatens Dodger.
Oliver is apprenticed when he asks for more food, and he runs away when he is mistreated. This highlights the lack of services for the poor. In addition, Fagin’s boys would not need to apprentice themselves to a life of crime and violence if they had anywhere else to go. The true victims in this story are the children who are not cared for by the system and grow up to be criminals.
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