The Duchess and the Jeweller by Virginia Woolf

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In The Duchess and the Jeweller, what was Oliver's childhood like? Please explain.

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The Duchess and the Jeweller is a short story by Virginia Woolf. In the story, the duchess is apparently a woman of means and privilege and Oliver prides himself on having been able to rise above his own lowly status to a point where he is in a position to consider and either accept or decline "cards of invitation... from duchesses, countesses, viscountesses and Honorable Ladies." To Oliver this reveals his importance. However, he soon admits that he "began life in a filthy little alley." This fact makes Oliver feel insecure and he "dismantled himself often and became again a little boy in a dark alley..." It is apparent to the reader that his childhood has left Oliver feeling unbalanced and filled with self-doubt. Surrounding himself with wealth is the answer for Oliver in attempting to overcome his vulnerabilities. 

The reader also learns more about Oliver's poor and seemingly difficult childhood when he recalls an occasion when "he had been done" or arrested for illegally trying to...

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