Oliver Twist

Gender Inequality In Oliver Twist College

In what is arguably his best known work, Charles Dickens addresses the blatant gender inequality that ran rampant in the 1800s. Oliver Twist confronts the disheartening public view of not only women in lower social classes, like Nancy, but also the stereotypes placed on the actions of women in the upper classes, such as Rose and Mrs. Bedwin. Though he may exemplify this inequality through several female characters and their interactions with their male counterparts, Dickens is one of the first to paint these women as at least somewhat conscious beings who are capable of some thought process. He approached his female characters with an attitude of change from their “roles.” Instead of seeing England as “a patriarchal model which reserved power and privilege for men,” (Marsh) he chose to give his female characters more of a role in their own lives, allowing them to develop as actual figures rather than slump in the background, at least in his literature. However, Dickens was well aware of the expectations of women in 19th century England: he knew that women were considered “physically weaker yet morally superior to men” and that they were considered to be “best suited to the domestic sphere” (Hughes). By accepting these...

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