Great Expectations and Oliver Twist: A Comparison and Contrast.
Two of Charles Dickens" masterpieces, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, are representatives of the many kinds of differences and similarities found within his volume of works. Perhaps the reason why these two novels share some of the same qualities is because they both reflect painful experiences which occurred in Dickens' past. During his childhood, Charles Dickens suffered much abuse from his parents, and this abuse is often expressed in his novels (Marcus 82). Pip, in Great Expectations, talked often about the abuse he received at the hands of his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery. On one occasion he remarked, "I soon found myself getting heavily bumped from behind in the nape of the neck and the small of the back, and having my face ignominiously shoved against the wall, because I did not answer those questions at sufficient length (Dickens Expectations 69).".
While at the orphanage, Oliver of Oliver Twist also experienced a great amount of abuse. For example, while suffering from starvation and malnutrition for a long period of time, Oliver was chosen by the other boys at the orphanage to request more gruel at dinner one night. After making this simple request, "the master (at the orphanage) aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for the beadle (Dickens Twist 16-17)." The beginning of Oliver Twist's story was created from memories which related to Charles Dickens' childhood in a blacking factory (Wilkie 77-78). While working in the blacking factory, Dickens suffered tremendous humiliation, which is greatly expressed through Oliver's adventures at the orphanage before he is sent away.
Throughout his lifetime, Dickens appeared to have acquired a fondness for "the bleak, the sordid, and the austere (Marcus 71) ".Most of Oliver Twist, for example, is set in London's lowest slums (Wilkie 77).