An Analysis of the Characters in Oliver Twist毕业论文_英语毕业论文

An Analysis of the Characters in Oliver Twist毕业论文

2021-04-04更新

摘 要

《雾都孤儿》是查尔斯•狄更斯在维多利亚时期书写的一部伟大的批判现实主义的小说。它以维多利亚为时代背景,主要反映了最底层人民贫苦的生活和上层社会奢靡的生活,通过两者对比揭露了社会弊端等问题,带有很强的讽刺意义。

本文主要从人物的语言和行为举止来分析小说中典型人物的性格特征,并通过正反人物的对比,探究了作者在维多利亚时代背景下现实主义写作手法的特点。

关键词:《雾都孤儿》;维多利亚时代;现实主义;人物刻画

Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Demonstration 1

2.1 Background 1

2.1.1 The background of the novel 1

2.1.2 The plot of the novel 3

2.2 Analysis of the typical characters 4

2.2.1 Virtuous characters 5

2.2.1.1 Miss. Merle 5

2.2.1.2 Mr. Brownlow 6

2.2.2 Ruthless characters 6

2.2.2.1 Fagin 6

2.2.2.2 Bill Sykes 8

2.2.3 The hypocritical Mr. Bumble 9

2.2.4 The tragic Nancy 10

2.3 Social implications 11

3、Conclusion 12

Works Cited 14

Bibliography 15

An Analysis of Typical Characters in Oliver Twist

Introduction

Oliver Twist is a great critical realism novel written by Charles Dickens. It takes Victoria as the background of the times, mainly reflects the life of the lowest people in the poor British society, exposes the social malpractices and social problems, and therefore has a strong ironic significance. Some scholars from foreign universities are continually studying Dickens’ works, the most famous of which is the University of California. They have professional professors and subjects. They have deeply analyzed Dickens’ works and made great contributions to literary research.

This paper mainly analyses the characters’ personality characteristics from their languages and behaviors, and explores the characteristics of the writer’s realistic writing techniques in the Victorian era by comparing the pros and cons.

2. Demonstration

2.1 Background

2.1.1 The background of the novel

In the early Victorian era, Britain not only witnessed rapid economic development, but also brought about some serious social problems. By the middle 19th century, the British development reached its highest point and became one of the strongest countries in the world. But under the great prosperity and wealth, there emerged a large number of poor working classes. Workers and their families are crowded in dirty slums, and the working conditions of workers were very poor. At that time, the gap between the rich and the poor in the society was very large. The rich quickly accumulated wealth through work, but the workers still faced severe poverty and misfortune. The street children in the city also became a very typical problem in the era of the creation of Oliver Twist. The middle of the 19th century was the golden age for the development of European children’s literature. With the completion of the European industrial revolution and the vigorous development of the citizen culture, people’s scientific literacy and humanistic spirit have been continuously improved, and children’s rights have received more and more attention. Among the writers of this period, Dickens is one of the greatest critical realist writers. His difficult childhood life had a great influence on him. Dickens made a serious criticism of London in the 19th century in his works. He exposed the injustice, hypocrisy and corruption of all social strata at that time. Oliver Twist is one of Dickens’ early representative works. Therefore, Dickens is regarded as one of the greatest critical realist writers in the history of English literature. He has made great contributions to the field of literature. In the book, he reveals the darkness of Victorian times, so the novel has great social significance. Based on the realistic creation of the British society, Oliver Twist vividly shows the living conditions and psychological changes of the people at the bottom of Britain, and is a classic work to study social changes at that time. The language skills of the novel are rich. Dickens embraced social injustice, evoked public opinion, implemented reforms to help the poor in dire straits, and became one of Britain’s greatest novelists at the time. He was an outstanding representative of British realism literature. Whether it is the combination of romanticism and realism, or the contrasting depiction of positive and negative characters, it is worthy of more literature lovers to learn and explore.

2.1.2 The plot of the novel

At the beginning of the 19th century, Oliver, a child who was born with no idea of who his parents were, decided to escape after being tortured by the denominations of the orphanages and the torture of several supervisors, and walked to London. Near London, he met a jealous thief, Dow, in a theft gang. The simple and unremarkable little Oliver ignorantly went to the place where he lived, and met the so-called “gentleman” Fagin and other gang members. In a gang action, Oliver discovered that it turned out to be a theft gang. In that trip, Dow and others who were detected when stealing quickly fled. Poor Oliver was mistaken for a thief and was taken away by the police. The kind-hearted owner, Mr. Brownlow, saw that Oliver was not like a thief, and he was merciful to this emaciated child and took him home to adopt. The leader of the theft gang was afraid that Oliver would give himself up to the police, so Nancy was forced by Fagin to go to the police station to inquire about the situation. Nancy had a consistent lifestyle and the love to the second thief in the gang. She was forced to tempt Oliver and brought him back to this dirty gang. Later, the kind nature of Nancy could not bear it to see Oliver being abused. She risked her life to get in touch with Oliver’s aunt and helped Oliver escape from this sinful place. Unfortunately, Sykes discovered the truth, and killed Nancy.

2.2 Analysis of the typical characters

Many philosophers regard good and evil in a broad sense as moral standards. However, there is no precise code of conduct in the definition of morality, which is a difficult concept to define. But it usually involves social harmony and people’s happiness index. Evil can be simply defined as the opposite of good. Of course, the nature of goodness is naturally endowed with many standards, which are based on love and formed in the initial stage of human development. On the other hand, good is the product of truth. There are also different opinions on the causes of evil. Many philosophical and religious traditions hold that evil is the deviation of human behavior, and that human beings must understand these rules and ensure that our principles of behavior are the norms.

2.2.1 Virtuous characters

2.2.1.1 Miss. Merle

Rose Merle is an orphan, and her original surname is Fleming. Rose was taken care of by Mrs. Merle from an early age. She is kind and pure, innocent and beautiful. The young Rose is in the bloom of flowers and at the age of the cute. Rose plays an important role in this novel. Two thieves, Bill and Toby, tried to break into Merle’s house. They forced Oliver to get into the room because he was small and could climb into the window. Oliver was wounded by Merle’s servant. Rose saved him, let him stay at home to recover and took good care of him. She trusted Oliver and, after hearing about Oliver’s life, supported him to go to London to find Mr. Brownlow. Rose always brought comfort and happiness to everyone, and Mrs. Merle and Oliver liked her. She always thought about others, and even when she was sick, she didn’t want to bother others to worry about her, especially her lover, Harry Merle. When he decided to tell his family that he would marry Rose, Rose refused him because she was an orphan. Her life experience would be a huge obstacle to Harry’s success. She loved him, but she didn’t want to bring any shame and defeat to Harry because in the Victorian era, all societies paid special attention to the reputation of women. Although Rose was in a dark age, her strong and unyielding attitude has affected everyone around her.

2.2.1.2 Mr. Brownlow

When Mr. Brownlow took Oliver home from the police station, Oliver woke up. The kind nanny came over immediately after hearing his words and gently said to him, “Quiet, dear, you must lie down, or you will get sick again.” At this moment, Oliver is very happy because he has never been treated so well in his life. Oliver was warmed by Mr. Brownlow’s kindness and the hospitality of his family. Because Mr. Brownlow felt Oliver’s honesty and courage, Mr. Brownlow decided to leave him at home and take good care of him. From then on, Oliver began his new life. From their daily conversations, we can see that Oliver and his new family get along well.

2.2.2 Ruthless characters

2.2.2.1 Fagin

From Oliver Twist, it can be seen that Dickens is particularly good at describing. Whether it is the description of the environment or the description of the characters, it can bring a clear, three-dimension-ed, rich picture. First, the author set Fagin’s appearance in an extremely dirty, run-down place. Even the young, well-lost protagonist Oliver believed that “there has never been a place that is dirtier or more run-down than here.” A cold supermarket, a dirty London street, a muddy, dirty, remote alley, a dilapidated, dark, messy attic—a place where you can imagine that the characters you want to play must match his environment. Secondly, the author is also very consistent with the appearance of Fagin, the portrayal of the language and the nature of the characters to be described. He is a skinny old Jewish man with a large red hair and a disgusting face. The face is disgusting, the coat is greasy, and there is a fierce body but a big tooth. The gentleman greeted Oliver. He shook hands shyly and said that he hoped to be acquainted with him. Obviously, Fagin’s words and deeds at this time were so out of place with his residence, appearance and essence, so the author gave a lot of irony in the portrayal of this character’s appearance, and his various aspects were difficult to be accepted, and even his breathing was uncomfortable. Dickens is also especially good at portraying details. He deliberately used red to describe Fagin’s beard and hair, so people naturally associate them with the devil. Fagin entertained Oliver, and has also hosted his “successful students.” Those so-called “successful students” are all those who Fagin took on the streets and have been swallowed by hunger and cold for many days, so that they would embark on the road of stealing. Today, this group of numb children are actually the yesterday that Oliver has just passed. However, this kind of behavior became a promising event in the words of Fagin. The children went out to complete their work to steal for him, so that they could get the bread and sausage for their dinner. These children were also the so-called “confidantes” of Fagin. The children’s usual games and topics were all about the so-called work. In the face of Oliver, who didn’t understand everything, Fagin used these high-sounding words to erode him. These words polluted his pure heart, and finally turned Oliver into a tool for his own use. Finally, at the time of the trial, Fagin looked at his defense lawyer with a pleading look. He hoped that he would defend himself. In a blink of an eye, he saw someone painting, and he wanted to look out and see what he was painting. He once lost his mind in the court, and suddenly he thought that he was indeed guilty, so he associated himself with the scene of being hanged. These details are not only a description of the psychological activities of the characters, but also enrich the characters and make them more full and three-dimensional.

2.2.2.2 Bill Sykes

While portraying Fagin, the author also described another evil character, Sykes. This forms a certain contrast with Fagin. If Fagin is the thief, the instigator, the miser, then Sykes is the murderer, cold-blooded animal. Sykes was a man of about thirty-five and six years old, a strong man with muscles on his calves. He was always embarrassed, dirty, and had no sympathy. Sykes was fierce and suspicious. His main target was Nancy. In the face of Nancy’s betrayal, he killed her despite the emotions of the past. In the end, Sykes died in fear of the sins he had committed before.

2.2.3 The hypocritical Mr. Bumble

Dickens is also good at describing those “respected people”. Mr. Bumble is a typical example. Readers will find it ridiculous when they read the third chapter of Mr. Bumble’s dialogue with Oliver, but behind the humor, we feel the hypocrisy of these small officials. Similarly, other officials of the almshouse, who abused the rights of charities, were real criminals. In the ethical Christian Bumble, the reader sees not only the “I want a little more” but also the whipping of Oliver in public. As a parish official who was responsible for the official duties of the orphans adopted in the district, Bungle has always been “a terrible face.” In a public place like the Public Security Bureau, Oliver was “my dear” in the mouth of Bumble. “But privately, Oliver immediately became a “little hooligan” in his mouth. The world controlled by the Bumbles of the almshouse is “dark and lonely”. Especially when he knew that Oliver was one of the heirs, the strong desire made his heart twisted, and he colluded with the thief gang to turn Oliver into a complete bad guy. It is the description of these details that portrays a hypocritical middle class image.

2.2.4 The tragic Nancy

Dickens portrayed Nancy as a young woman with psychological complexity. She grew up in a thief group. No one knew her life. She did not meet any kind people after she entered the thief’s gang, although she later met Mr. Brown and Miss Merle, but it is too late, and finally she died in the hands of the robber Sykes. Her fate is tragic, just as the orphans in the real world fell into the dark. Nancy saw through all the ugly things in the thief group. She hated the treacherous, fierce, cruel and ruthless things, but she also had a certain feeling for the thieves group, and she was reluctant to leave. She sympathized with Oliver, treated him like a younger brother, and could save him in the moment of crisis in spite of her own safety, but she had to personally push Oliver onto the road of thieves. She envied women who had cultural education and had a warm family, but she did not dare to expect a happy life because of her humble identity. Her heart was contradictory. When Mr. Brown and Miss Merle advised her to leave the thieves group to re-do, she refused their kindness, although she yearned for such a life. Although Nancy was smart and courageous, she could solve any troubles, yet her charm and aura were still being erased in the identity of the villain, but the reader can see the humanized light in the reading process, and feel that Nancy is beautiful .The inner contradictions and conflicts of Nancy described by Dickens are real, and the social reality reflected at the same time is also cruel.

2.3 Social implications

The novel Oliver Twist is set in the bottom life of London. It takes Oliver’s experience as its main structure and describes all kinds of people in his life. This novel reflects the real situation of London’s lower and upper classes. It not only reflects Oliver’s painful memories, but also reflects the hard life of the lower class in London. At the same time, it describes the luxury and unreasonable dictatorship of corrupt upper classes. When Dickens wrote the novel Orphan Twist, Britain was in the midst of the first industrial revolution. The Industrial Revolution is a process of rapid development of British society. The productivity of workers has increased markedly, resulting in an increase in product output and hence a fall in commodity prices. New inventions and technological innovations have brought new developments to the British national economy. Britain has become a “factory of the world”, but behind its comfortable life and great wealth lies the working class, which endures poverty and suffering. In order to make a living, women and children also go to work in factories. Oliver maintained a pure heart even in the dark social environment. However, the environment still affects his life to a great extent. He did not know what was evil and what was good, so he was easily deceived by bands of thieves. Dickens believed that good men would eventually overcome evil. Therefore, even in the dark social environment, Oliver can still maintain his purity and sincerity, out of the quagmire. These are the good qualities people of today should learn from.

Conclusion

Dickens created a set of lifelike characters in Oliver Twist. Through the study of various characters in Oliver Twist, readers will have a deeper understanding of the good and evil and feel the power of goodness. At first, readers may only focus on the good and bad of the characters. However, from a different angle to analyze this novel, readers will have a deeper understanding of “The Orphan of the Mist” and can explore different values. As a critical realism novel, its potential value will be more colorful as the years go by. As a critical realist novelist, Dickens not only reveals the dark side of Victorian society, but also hopes that more and more people will be kind and purify the whole society. Dickens’ work Oliver Twist is a typical work of critical realism, which reflects the current social status and has a very high literary value. But the social prejudice against the Jews reflected in the work is not only the injustice of the Jews, but also the discrimination against this race. Literary works reflect the social life at that time, but literary works are also the essence of the spirit of the times. They also need to bear the social responsibility of correctly enlightening and guiding the society. Therefore, the writer’s works have the responsibility to indicate the injustice of the society and help the weak in the society. Oliver Twist is a typical novel leading to the dynamics of social thinking.

Works Cited

Seltzer, Robert M. Jewish People, Jewish Thought. 上海:三联书店,1994.

郭晓芬, 李双宏. 《雾都孤儿》人物分析——南希的挣扎[A]. 语言与文化研究(第七辑)[C]. 2010.

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