Great Expectations And Oliver Twist

During his lifetime, Charles Dickens is known to have written several books.

Although each book is different, they also share many similarities. Two of his
books, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, are representatives of the many
kinds of differences and similarities found within his work.. Perhaps the reason
why these two novels share some of the same qualities is because they both
reflect painful experiences which occurred in Dickens\' past. During his
childhood, Charles Dickens suffered much abuse from his parents.1 This abuse is
often expressed in his novels. Pip, in Great Expectations, talked often about
the abuse he received at the hands of his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery. On one
occasion he remarked, "I soon found myself getting heavily bumped from
behind in the nape of the neck and the small of the back, and having my face
ignominously shoved against the wall, because I did not answer those questions
at sufficient length."2 While at the orphanage, Oliver from Oliver Twist
also experienced a great amount of abuse. For example, while suffering from
starvation and malnutrition for a long period of time, 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 (at the orphanage) aimed a blow at

Oliver\'s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for
the beadle."3 The whole beginning of Oliver Twist\'s story was created from
memories which related to Charles Dickens\' childhood in a blacking factory
(which was overshadowed by the Marshalsea Prison).4 While working in the
blacking factory, Dickens suffered tremendous humiliation. This humiliation is
greatly expressed through Oliver\'s adventures at the orphanage before he is sent
away. Throughout his lifetime, Dickens appeared to have acquired a fondness for
"the bleak, the sordid, and the austere."5 Most of Oliver Twist, for
example, takes place in London\'s lowest slums.6 The city is described as a maze
which involves a "mystery of darkness, anonymity, and peril."7 Many of
the settings, such as the pickpocket\'s hideout, the surrounding streets, and the
bars, are also described as dark, gloomy, and bland.8 Meanwhile, in Great

Expectations, Miss Havisham\'s house is often made to sound depressing, old, and
lonely. Many of the objects within the house had not been touched or moved in
many years. Cobwebs were clearly visible as well as an abundance of dust, and
even the wedding dress, which Miss Havisham constantly wore, had turned yellow
with age.9 However, similarities are not just found in the settings. The novels\'
two main characters, Pip and Oliver, are also similar in many ways. Both young
boys were orphaned practically from birth; but where Pip is sent to live with
and be abused by his sister, Oliver is sent to live in an orphanage. Pip is a
very curious young boy. He is a "child of intense and yearning
fancy."10 Yet, Oliver is well spoken. Even while his life was in danger
while in the hands of Fagin and Bill Sikes, two conniving pickpockets, he
refused to participate in the stealing which he so greatly opposed. All Oliver
really longed for was to escape from harsh living conditions and evil
surroundings which he had grown up in.11 However, no matter how tempting the
evil may have been, Oliver stood by his beliefs. Therefore, he can be referred
to as "ideal and incorruptible innocence."12 "It is Oliver\'s
self-generated and self-sustained love, conferred it would seem from Heaven
alone, that preserves him from disaster and death."13 Unfortunately, many
critics have found it hard to believe that a boy such as Oliver Twist could
remain so innocent, pure, and well spoken given the long period of time in which
he was surrounded by evil and injustices.14 Pip, on the other hand, is a
dreamer. His imagination is always helping him to create situations to cover up
for his hard times. For example, when questioned about his first visit to Miss

Havisham\'s house, he made up along elaborate story to make up for the terrible
time he had in reality. Instead of telling how he played cards all day while
being ridiculed and criticized by Estella and Miss Havisham, he claimed that
they played with flags and swords all day after having wine and cake on gold
plates.15 However, one special quality possessed by Pip that is rarely seen in a
novel\'s hero is that he wrongs others instead of being hurt himself all of the
time.16 Another similarity between Oliver and Pip is that they both have had
interactions with convicts. Fagin the head of a group of young thieves,