Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thank God for Charles Dickens’ wonderful sense of humor and playfulness with words, or I would have found Oliver Twist far too tragic to enjoy. I read a version of Oliver Twist that most closely resembles the original print, and I actually found it somewhat difficult to read. I was forced to reread full paragraphs and pages at a time (not to mention my juvenile sense of ridiculousness that forced me to become hung up on trivial matters such as “Master Bates” being a funny name, as just one example). This means I spent nearly two weeks with Oliver and the cast of good and evil. It was honestly somewhat depressing for this glorious time of year!
It’s amazing how many people have never read Oliver Twist or much of Dickens at all. And when you read a classic, people will stop you to discuss the fact. I actually love that, although most people had nothing to discuss as they have never read it. I hadn’t read it either, frankly, and only remembered one line from the movie, “Please, sir, I want some more.”
Well, that little event happened in the first chapter of the book and really wasn’t the most important point, by any means!
I would suggest folks go back and read the classics. Mix them in with their contemporary counterparts because they can get a bit heavy, but books we were required to read as children (books we should have read as children but didn’t) have much more meaning and bring considerable more pleasure when read as an adult. I remember reading classic novels simply to find the answers to questions. And because I read slowly, I was always playing catch-up and skimming rather than reading.
I missed a lot ....
Oliver Twist is a lesson not only in poverty, but in goodness, evil, preservation, truth and justice. I had no idea there would be scandal, murder, intrigue, and oh-so-much anxiety in a story I thought was about a poor orphan boy with a cute accent!
It made me hungry!