Mrs. Mann in “Oliver Twist” Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

Mrs. Mann is very false and pretends to be very upset when Oliver is leaving. An example of this is when she dabs the corner of her eye. She isn’t really upset but she wants to convey that impression to Mr. Bumble. For example – “Mrs. Mann gave him [Oliver] a thousand embraces. ” She is incredibly complimentary towards Mr. Bumble and Dickens describes her manner as one of “captivating sweetness”. She even, at one point, calls Mr. Bumble “quite a literary character” when all he’d done was name a few children with names in alphabetical order.

Dickens calls Mrs. Mann, Oliver’s “benevolent protectress”.

He is most certainly being ironic, to emphasise that she is the exact opposite of this. She is not kind towards Oliver in any way and she doesn’t protect him from harm. In fact, she is the one who inflicts harm upon him. Another example of cruelty and neglect inflicted upon the children by the adults whose care they are in is the treatment given to them by the gentlemen of the Board.

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As Oliver enters the room to go before the Board, he is distraught and not at ease. He stutters when asked his name, at which point “a gentleman in a white waistcoat said he was a fool.

” Dickens makes an ironic authorial comment wherein he says that that “was a capital way of raising his spirits and putting him quite at his ease. ” This quotation is a prime example of how Dickens criticises Victorian society.

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From the moment Oliver goes before the Board, Dickens emphasises that they are “fat gentlemen” and refers to them individually as ” the red-faced gentleman” and “the surly one”. Then, at the other end of the scale, the boys in the workhouse “suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months”.

Dickens pontificates at length as to the fact that they are “so voracious and wild with hunger” and “had a wild, hungry eye. ” This is to further emphasise the difference between the Board and the people they were supposed to be looking after and helping. When Oliver has he audacity to “ask for more. ” chaos is unleashed. The reaction of the master and the assistants is quite extreme and ridiculous. The master “gazed in stupefied astonishment” and the assistants “were paralysed with wonder”. There seems to be an air of the ridiculous about their reactions.

The Board’s reaction is one of utter outrage and “horror was depicted on every countenance”. The gentleman in the white waistcoat at that point declared, “That boy will be hung” – which gives the reader the impression that these people are extremely hypocritical, in that they spend hours filling their stomachs, yet a young child isn’t allowed to have enough to keep him alive for longer than three months. An impression of greediness is developed. The Board is starving their workers, yet they have more than enough food to eat themselves.


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