Published on

Oliver Twist



Oliver Twist, a novel by Charles Dickens, is a poignant social commentary on the conditions of the 19th-century England, particularly the deplorable workhouses and the underworld of London. The story begins with the birth of Oliver Twist in a workhouse in an unnamed town. From the onset, Oliver's life is filled with hardship and adversity, highlighting the harsh realities faced by the poor and orphaned during the era.

Chapter I: The Birth of Oliver Twist

  • Setting: An unnamed town, focusing on a workhouse where Oliver is born.
  • Main Events: Oliver's mother dies shortly after his birth, leaving him an orphan. The lack of identity and family sets the tone for Oliver's challenging journey through life.
  • Themes Introduced: Social injustice, poverty, and the struggle for survival in a society that is indifferent to the plight of the less fortunate.


The opening chapter of Oliver Twist serves not only to introduce the protagonist but also to set the stage for Dickens's critique of the social and economic injustices of his time. Through the character of Oliver, Dickens explores themes of innocence and vulnerability pitted against the cruel backdrop of workhouses and societal neglect. The anonymity of the town and Oliver’s parentage symbolizes the widespread nature of the issues addressed in the novel, suggesting a universal relevance of the themes discussed.


Oliver Twist is significant not only for its storytelling but also for its deep social commentary. Dickens uses Oliver’s journey to expose the failings of societal institutions intended to support the needy and to criticize the moral indifference of society towards poverty and child labor. The novel's enduring relevance lies in its exploration of themes that continue to resonate, such as social inequality, the importance of compassion, and the rights of the underprivileged.