Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens

Words from the achiever

“There, but for fate, go I. Oliver Twist lived in the boardinghouse for orphaned kids and was treated very badly, and yet he turned out to be the child of a very wealthy person. Solely because of the context in which he lived, he was treated extraordinarily badly. I remember that. Dickens’ approach to that whole moral question of whether we are or are not different because of our upbringing and our social status, I think has made me more comfortable with an egalitarian world, such as we’re seeing evolve from the Internet where everyone really is nameless, faceless. You don’t know where they are, you don’t know what they mean. You can’t put them in a box, because you don’t know what box they would belong in. So I think Dickens had a very sad message about human behavior, but also a very optimistic one, that if you recognize that, if we get beyond that, there’s a wonderful life beyond for all.”

About the book

Nine year-old Oliver Twist flees the starvation of a workhouse to the streets of London, where he falls in a with a gang of professional thieves. As the sinister Fagin, Bill Sykes and the Artful Dodger lead Oliver deeper into a life of crime, a mysterious plot unfolds around him. A century and a half of readers have been enthralled and horrified by Dickens’ picture of life on the mean streets of London.

“Stop thief! Stop thief!” There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast. One wretched breathless child, panting with exhaustion; terror in his looks; agony in his eyes; large drops of perspiration streaming down his face, strains every nerve to make head upon his pursuers; and as they follow on his track, and gain upon him every instant, they hail his decreasing strength with still louder shouts, and whoop and scream with joy. “Stop thief!” Ay, stop him for God’s sake, were it only in mercy!