Oliver Twist

Greed and Love in "Oliver Twist" 9th Grade

Character is defined not only by actions but also by the motivation behind actions. In Oliver Twist, this concept is explored by Dickens, particularly with the contrast of Fagin taking Oliver in once he gets to London and Mr. Brownlow taking Oliver in after he falls ill. Fagin is, as always, motivated by what money and production he can squeeze out of the young prospect, where Mr. Brownlow is interested in the safety and wellbeing of a poor boy. Motivation is often a defining trait in many novels, but in Oliver Twist motivations become especially prominent. Each character is set up to be judged not only by actions but also by the reasons that motivate actions and the outcomes that are desired. Two of the most defining and important motivations are Fagin's greed and Oliver’s want for kindness.

Fagin is a horrible man whose greed negatively affects almost every human who has the misfortune to run across his sorrowful presence, especially Oliver. While Oliver stays voluntarily with Fagin, he learns a new game in which he must pickpocket Fagin, which he picks up surprisingly quickly: “Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman’s pocket had to do with his chance of being a great man” (Dickens 94). Fagin is training Oliver so...

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