Irony In Oliver Twist (Essay Sample)

When it comes to the literary world, a lot usually happens in terms of words. Literature scholars always engage in some unseen or rather, subtle form of intellectual competition, through the battle for ultimate creativity. There exist some great literary pieces, both today and over the past, that help prove this notion. Various works have been done by various authors, but Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is certainly one of the great pieces one can ever come across.

It is so obvious to any reader of Oliver Twist to notice irony when they first read the book. Charles Dickens, the author of the book, employs irony and satire to communicate meaning to his audience. Traditionally, an ironical utterance is described as speaking something when in the real sense, the speaker means the opposite. There are different forms of irony that have been employed by the author to communicate details of meaning. The forms that stand out in Oliver Twist are situational and verbal irony. The use of irony in the work is aimed at delivering some message, in either a subtle or playful manner. This in turn, makes the criticism done by the author, to be effective even from the reader’s point of view, however joking or funny it might appear.

While referring to the various institutions that he thought were unjust and inhumane, Dickens uses irony. Examples of these institutions are the Poor system, the Justice System, and the Parish Workhouse System among others. By calling himself ‘a humble author’ sarcastically, Dickens satirizes one of the officials, Mr. Bumble as he compares him to “so mighty a personage as a beadle.” In the real sense, a beadle is not an important person at all. It is obvious that the author was super-snarky and ironic. The irony here was to showcase how some officials are so self-satisfied and pompous. To a great extent, the author doesn’t hit directly and bluntly on the misgivings of the public officials. Rather, he tries to maintain some mild professionalism as he indirectly does the same with equal effectiveness.

Dickens uses irony to bring out the alienation, inhumane and corruption brought in institutions that are supposed to be charity institutions. He refers to Mrs. Mann by saying “the elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for the children, and had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself.” Dickens was critiquing this lady because she paid the children working at baby farm merely while the rest went to her pocket. She was inhumane and corrupt. The children who worked there did, but on payment, they had less, and that’s the reason as to why they got thin. In the criticism however, Dickens still maintains the composure and brilliant diction that have been shining throughout the work.

In conclusion, both irony and satire have been brought out throughout the book in a rather interesting and captivating manner. The author uses irony to address some of the issues that were prevailing in institutions in the 19th century. He does this through a combination of expert language mastery and creativity that highlights fertile imagination and creativity. The importance of irony is it communicates meaning in details and strongly but indirectly. These literary devices have combined to form part of what makes the work very intriguing and interesting at the same time.

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