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...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 725 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4210 literature essays, 1403 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in