Oliver Twist Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What were Charles Dickens's main objectives in writing Oliver Twist?

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In writing Oliver Twist Dickens was trying to draw his readers's attention to the plight of the most unfortunate members of society. In particular, he was keen to expose the cruelty of the workhouse system. This was a government system which trapped some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society in lives of unimaginable poverty.

The workhouse system had been set up to crack down on public vagrancy. It was generally successful in achieving this aim, but it did nothing to deal with the causes of poverty. As Oliver Twist discovers, workhouses were often places of misery and exploitation. Desperate people were treated like common criminals simply because they were poor.

Dickens was all too aware of the fact that most people in Britain at that time believed that the poor had themselves to blame for their troubles. In writing Oliver Twist , then, he aimed to challenge this long-standing prejudice. One of the ways he does this is through the character of Oliver's mother, a woman from a...

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