From Oliver Twist, I require help finding in text quotations for the Artful Dodger, Monks, and Mrs.Mann proving the following: 1) Mrs.Mann is symbolic because she does not represent the typical...

From Oliver Twist, I require help finding in text quotations for the Artful Dodger, Monks, and Mrs.Mann proving the following:

1) Mrs.Mann is symbolic because she does not represent the typical qualities of a caring women. She is not nourishing towards Oliver and is very cruel and mean.

2) The Artful Dodger is symbolic because he is not the stereotypical best friend everyone has since he betrays Oliver Twist which is cruel.

3) Monks is symbolic because does not represent your ideal half brother. Rather than helping his brother out, he decides to destroy Oliver's reputation because of jealousy, revenge and greed.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Part of what makes the ability to find quotes in Oliver Twist a bit of a challenge is because of the style of narration that Dickens offers.  He is the consummate storyteller.  His narrative voice is so dominant and so effective that the characters' words are almost secondary to his own.  His own narrative style is able to display the intent within characterization, emotional aspects that they themselves might not even acknowledge through their own words.  For example, in describing the symbolism of Mrs. Mann as cruel and mean, consider how Dickens is able to illuminate her true essence in the story's exposition:  "Mrs. Mann raised her hands in astonishment; but added, after a moment’s reflection, ‘How comes he to have any name at all, then?"  Dickens is able to use a basic question to bring out the aspect of her character that seeks to silence and remove voice, including that of a child.  For Mrs. Mann, children like Oliver are seen as means to an ends, and not ends in their own right.  Dickens is able to further bring out her cruel and brutal sensibilities in the small glances she gives Oliver:

Oliver was about to say that he would go along with anybody with great readiness, when, glancing upward, he caught sight of Mrs. Mann, who had got behind the beadle’s chair, and was shaking her fist at him with a furious countenance. He took the hint at once, for the fist had been too often impressed upon his body not to be deeply impressed upon his recollection.

Dickens shows the cruelty of Mrs. Mann in her "furious countenance" at the innocent and frail Oliver Twist.  There is no nourishment and care within "the fist" that comes to embody Mrs. Mann.

The cruelty of the adult world is something that Oliver experiences throughout his life.  Dickens writes of most adults in this world as ones who embody some fairly harsh and cruel means of interactions. This is not a world of guidance, enriching structure, or even fairness.  Rather, it is a condition where adults embody some of the very worst of human beings.  It is in this light where Dickens is fairly deliberate in describing Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, as an adult:

He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again.

Dickens has an emotionally connotative reason for describing the Artful Dodger as an adult.  Even though he is a child, Dickens describes him in adult terms, showing how the Artful Dodger has taken the form of the world around him. This makes him someone that would be capable of befriending and betraying Oliver, whose child- like innocence makes him distinctly different from the world around him.  The description of a child as "ugly" is indicative of how Dickens sees the world of adults, where such heinous appearance is reflective of what is within.  Ugliness comes from within, and in describing him in this manner, Dickens is able to suggest that the Artful Dodger will indeed betray Oliver and manipulate him for his own needs in a cruel manner.

The world that Dickens describes is one where even blood connections suffer the taint of revenge and wrath that is so common in the outside world.  Monks displays this and Dickens is quite skilled in showing how the bonds of being a half- brother are little match for the coveting of external reality that is a part of the outside world:  "While Monks was pacing up and down, meditating with dark and evil looks on this proposal and the possibilities of evading it: torn by his fears on the one hand and his hatred on the other..."  It is evident that Dickens shows Monks to be one who is filled with the "dark and evil" that looms within his heart, coveting what Oliver might receive for his own uses.  This is where Monks's symbolism becomes evident in how the people we are supposed to embrace as our own might actually more indicators of the world that we should seek to avoid at all costs, a world where jealousy, revenge, and greed are rampant.

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Oliver Twist

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