Charles Dickens Writing Styles in Oliver Twist

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Shifting Narrative Voice

Throughout the novel, Dickens employs a shifting narrative voice; as James R. Kincaid noted in Dickens and the Rhetoric of Laughter, "It is impossible to define the characteristics or moral position of the narrators in this novel, for they are continually shifting." At times the narrator is detached and wordy, as in the opening paragraph in which he says abstractly that he will not name the town or workhouse where a certain "item of mortality" was born. At the same time, he is mocking the conventions of many novels of his time, which open with a lengthy and often smug description of the main character's birthplace and family.

The narrator doesn't consistently stay in this remote but sarcastic voice but sometimes shifts to remarking ironically on the supposedly wonderful way in which the poor are treated and on how kind it is; or sometimes the narrator...

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This section contains 511 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Oliver Twist Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Oliver Twist from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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