Style of language

The language of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is often complex and sometimes difficult to understand. This is partly due to the age of the text. Dickens is also known for using long sentences, which can make the meaning hard to follow. 

The tone shifts over the course of the novel. In the first half of the novel, the tone is primarily grim and depressing, as it follows the course of Oliver’s miserable life in the workhouse and as part of Fagin’s gang. For example: 

There was a still greater obstacle in Oliver’s youth and childishness. He only cried bitterly all day; and, when the long, dismal night came on, spread his little hands before his eyes to shut out the darkness, and crouching in the corner, tried to sleep: ever and anon waking with a start and tremble, and drawing himself closer and closer to the wall, as if to feel even its cold hard surface were a protection in the gloom and loneliness which surrounded him. (Chapter 3, 8%)

In the second half of the novel, however, the tone shifts to a more hopeful one as it seems more likely that Oliver will find a happier life. The turning point comes when Oliver comes under the care of Mrs Maylie and Rose, who are kind to him and who are determined to protect him and impr...

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