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  • An Analysis of Oliver Twist And Oliver!
  • Angela Marie Priley (bio)

For this paper, I have chosen to write on the book Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, and the movie musical Oliver!. I will discuss the differences in the book and the movie, and I will show how the movie does not induce the same impression as the book.

The movie Oliver was drastically different from the book Oliver Twist. The whole purpose behind the book Oliver Twist is to solve the mystery of Oliver's heritage and family. The subject of Oliver's history was barely touched throughout the whole movie, and it could hardly be called a subplot. In addition, some of the most important parts in the book were left out totally in the movie. Rose Maylie was never mentioned, nor was Oliver ever at her house. In the movie, Oliver was never shot, as he was in the book, and therefore a large piece of the book had been left out. The only purpose in the movie was to get a contrasting view of music. It was a great musical, but the whole story line was extremely different from that of the book. Each story even had different plots. Two stories shouldn't be related in any matter to each other if they don't even have the same plot. The plot is what makes up the whole story. Hollywood should have written a whole new story instead of modeling it after Oliver Twist.

Dickens wrote Oliver Twist to show the horrible conditions in the workhouses and in the poor social class in London during the mid-1800's. He wrote his books to scorn the poor laws and to show the real lives of the lower class. He wrote to scorn Parliament and the government. He wrote to show what dirt and filth these people often live in, and what they must resort to in order to survive. He wrote to shame the people who caused these conditions. He wrote to get his point across and, at the same time, entertain the public.

His voice showed bitter sarcasm for the government and he took a stand against the law. He wanted to show the people what they are doing and he wanted to prove a point. He used irony and humor to show things that, in fact, were not humorous at all. He used extremely sophisticated writing techniques to prove his point. The voice in the movie hardly accomplishes this. The voice in the movie Oliver! was gleeful, cheerful, and blithe. It also didn't use any irony. These two are exact opposites of each other. There was nothing hidden in Oliver! and no really great techniques were used.

The movie didn't seem to come close enough to the feeling the book left in the reader after the last page was turned. Oliver Twist left the reader feeling angry and deceived by the government and the poor laws. The book gave a sense of controversy that made its points extremely susceptible to argument. The movie left the viewer with a sense of merriment; everyone lived happily ever after. It was, more or less, a fairy tale. The viewer didn't come away feeling deceived or angry, because none of the controversial factors were present. The people in Oliver Twist became thieves, which was not very uncommon, just to survive. Being thieves was not exactly a sinecure, but at least they survived.

Yet throughout the whole movie Oliver!, the group of criminals is a humorous and sanguine group, all except for Bill Sikes, and there is not one hint of despondency. The movie was rather propitious and light-hearted. Throughout the entire novel, there was an aura of depression and deeply-felt grief and bitterness. The movie carried on and didn't reveal any type of loathing. The movie was mainly for entertainment; it was a movie meant to appeal to the audience, not to reveal any sort of truth. It had no other motive than what was on the screen; there was no concealed meaning.

Part of what makes Oliver Twist such a wonderful piece of literature is the mystery of Oliver's birth...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-1201
Print ISSN
0885-0429
Pages
p. 189
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-01
Open Access
No
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