As one of the world’s greatest writers, Charles Dickens has written some of the greatest classics such as: Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and Oliver Twist. In these works, Dickens often uses past experiences in his life, and develops a character that goes through the same kind of struggles. He also uses much satire as comic relief, much like that of someone who is trying to hide behind a mask of joking. Such is the case with Oliver Twist.
During his childhood, Charles Dickens suffered much abuse from his parents. Oliver Twist, the main character in the novel, while at the orphanage, also experienced a great amount of abuse. For example, while suffering from starvation and malnutrition, Oliver was chosen by the other boys at the orphanage to request more gruel at dinner one night. After making this simple request, “the master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.”
The whole beginning of Oliver Twist’s story was created from memories which related to Dickens’ childhood in a blacking factory. While working in the blacking factory, Dickens suffered tremendous humiliation, which is expressed through Oliver’s adventures at the orphanage.
Throughout his lifetime, Dickens appeared to have acquired a drawing towards the bleak and dreary. Most of Oliver Twist, for example, takes place in London’s lowest slums. Many of the settings, such as the pickpocket’s hideout, the surrounding streets, and the bars, are described as dark, gloomy, and bland. It often appears that Dickens was extremely depressed and dwelled on the past. If he had looked to Jesus to break the chains of the past,
Another similarity between Oliver and Dickens is that they both have had interactions with convicts. Fagin, the head of a group of young thieves, spends most of his time trying to corrupt Oliver, which would later prevent him from ever coming into his rightful inheritance. To Oliver, Fagin is seen as an escape from all previous misery. He also helps Oliver to ease any fears about starvation and loneliness. While at the blacking factory, Charles had a similar run-in with a theif who enticed him with money and food.
Much satire is used as a writing technique in the book mainly to emphasize some of the social injustices that poorer people of that time had to endure.
The use of personal experience and good writing technique has made Dickens into the writing legend that he is. As you can see, Dickens’ use of personal experience was able to help develop a character that was a mirror of himself, and was able to create a great story.