Oliver Twist and the Gothic Tradition


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Oliver Twist and the Gothic Tradition

  1. 1. Topic • ‘Oliver Twist’ and the Gothic Tradition • Name:- Sejal Chauhan • Paper:- 6 – The Victorian Literature • Roll No:- 28 • M.A. Part-1 Sem-2 • Submitted to:- M.K.Bhavnagar University.
  2. 2. What is Gothic Novel? • A Gothic novel is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. • The novel would normally be set in a spooky castle or alike.
  3. 3. What is Gothic novel? • The term ‘Gothic novel’ refers to the novel of horror popularised towards the end of the eighteenth century. • English novel from Defoe to Miss Burney was characterised by a note of realism. • The novelist tried to portray real life and to deal with things as they actually saw them, without touching them with any romantic aroma.
  4. 4. • Magic • Supernatural Elements • Scene of darkness and night • Coldblooded murders • Similar tragic happenings
  5. 5. Gothic Novel Horace Walpole M.G.’Monk’ Lewis Miss Clara Reeve Mrs.Ann Radcliffe Mary Shelley
  6. 6. Gothic elements in ‘Oliver Twist’ • Dickens was very much influenced by the Gothic novel. • Though the scene of the novel is contemporary England, the atmosphere of fear and desperation surrounding Oliver belongs to the Gothic tradition. • Exciting adventure, violent emotions,gloomy atmosphere,graveyards, secret passages, sensations of crime and terror aimed at making the readers’ flesh creep if these are the elements that distinguish Gothic novel,they are very much present in Oliver Twist.
  7. 7. Oliver at Mr Sowerberry’s • If Oliver Twist does not frequently take us to the graves in the churchyard, there are frequently reminders of death, and the atmosphere of the workhouse,the threat of Oliver’s apprenticeship to Mr Gamfield and his work at Mr Sowerberry’s place are all steeped in the chill of death. • Mr Sowerberry’s shop, in particular, has a close affinity with the graveyard, and Oliver’s first night there fills him with a feeling of awe and dread:
  8. 8. • An unfinished coffin on black tressels,which stood in the middle of the shop,looked so gloomy and death- like that a cold tremble came over him,every time his eyes wandered in the direction of the dismal object,from which he almost expected to see some frightful form slowly rear its head, to drive him mad with terror………………………….The recess beneath the counter in which his flock mattress was thrust looked like a grave. • This description of the shop seems to be straight out of the pages of a Gothic novel.
  9. 9. The scene of the meeting between Monks and the Bumbles • Monks derives his name from one the most reputed writers of Gothic novels, ‘Monk’ Lewis. • Monks with his ugly looks remined us of Monk Lewis. • The house to which he summons Mr and Mrs Bumble for an interview also belongs to the tradition of the Gothic novel. • As the husband and wife move towards the house and the husband carries a lantern in his hand. The colony:
  10. 10. • Had long been known as the residence of none……….,to the conjecture that they were disposed there, rather for the preservation of appearances, than with any view to their being actually employed. • The dark room in which…….Towards the end of the meeting Monks takes a locket and a ring from Mrs Bumble and suddenly wheeled the table aside, and pulling an iron…….with great precipitation. • The last evidence of Oliver’s parentage is also destroyed.
  11. 11. Fagin’s hideout • Though Fagin belongs to contemporary England,his hideouts in deserted,dilapidated,out of the world places are all in the Gothic setting. • No sunlight can pierce through his den.At one stage Oliver scrutinises the place and finds it completely dark. • The Three Cripples where the criminals often meet is another dark and dingy place belonging to the same world.
  12. 12. Conclusion • While writing Oliver Twist Dickens had the awareness of the entire Gothic tradition in his mind and some of the scene mentioned above carry an unmistakable stamp of that tradition. • But while the Gothic novel was written with the sole purpose of starling and mystifying the readers, Dickens’s purpose in writing Oliver Twist is to create social awareness of the evils present in the contemporary society.
  13. 13. •Thank • You