Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oliver Twist

"The honest gentlemen held the curtain in his hand, and looked on for a minute or so, in silence.  Whilst he was watching the patient thus, the younger lady glided softly past, and seating herself in a chair by the bedside, gathered Oliver's hair from his face.  As she stooped over him, her tears fell upon his forehead.  The boy stirred and smiled in his sleep, as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known.  Thus, a strain of gentle music, or the rippling of water in a silent place, or the odour of a flower, or the mention of a familiar word, will call up sudden dim remembrances of  scenes that never were, in this life; which vanish like a breath; which some brief memory of a happier existence, long gone by, would seem to have awakened; which no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall."
                                                               Charles Dickens (Chapter 30 in Oliver Twist).

Does that make you want to cry?  I did.  Of course, I had twenty nine chapters to build up to this beautiful scene, so when Rose laid eyes on Oliver for the first time her compassion for him was powerfully overwhelming.
I have heard it said that Dickens was an angry man, who strafed the world with his satirical novels,  poking and parodying those he felt the greatest contempt for.  I disagree (partly).   I think that Charles Dickens was a great student of human nature, with a quick and brilliant intelligence that was elaborate, prolific and that his novels are a wonderful gift from a great man who could see, not only the most ugliest of human nature but the purest beauty of it as well.   I can appreciate the goodness more because the badness has been thoroughly shown to me beforehand.  Not only is the language beautiful,  the characters are unique as well, and every feeling while reading this novel is felt fully, humour, horror, fear, compassion, relief, you will have your full measure (with a heart filled to bursting!), and get to have the genuine Dickens experience. 

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