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Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Oliver Twist attacks the nineteenth-century treatment of orphans by showing how they were abused. How are orphans treated in our society? Investigate and write about what happens to children whose parents are dead or unknown, and who don't have family members willing to take them.

Fagin is sentenced to death for his crimes. Do you think this is justified? Why or why not?

Oliver is remarkably "good," despite the starvation and abuse he receives during his childhood. Do you think this is realistic? Why or why not?

Investigate what it was like to live in London during the middle of the nineteenth century. If you lived there, what job would you have done? What would your life have been like?

Fagin is evil and cunning, and Dickens also frequently mentions that he is Jewish, leading critics to remark that Dickens was anti-Semitic, though this may not have been the case. How common was anti-Semitism in Dickens's time? Research and write about how Jewish people were viewed and treated in England during the nineteenth century.