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Literature & Language
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Do you agree with Thackeray that in Oliver Twist Dickens romanticizes crime by encouraging too much sympathy for the criminal characters? (Essay Sample)

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Writing_London_Essay_Questions_2011-12.doc Birkbeck, University of London BA English: First Year, 2011-12 Writing London Assessed Essay: c. 2500 words [This will count for 40% of this course unit's final grade.] Please answer ONE essay question below. Excessive length or brevity will be penalised. DEADLINE: 21 February 2012 1. ‘Oliver Twist is a broken-backed novel, the early “workhouse” scenes quite unrelated to the sections of the narrative set in London.' Would you agree? 2. Do you agree with Thackeray that in Oliver Twist Dickens romanticises crime by encouraging too much sympathy for the criminal characters? 3. ‘In the Gothic, London becomes less a real place and more a psychic space'. How might this comment illuminate Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? 4. Why, do you think, does literature about London so often turn on ideas of haunting? 5. ‘The narrative technique of Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway mediates between the private life of the individual and the public life of the city'. Discuss how this might be so. 6. ‘There are little bubbles of old time in London where things and places stay the same, like bubbles in amber.... There's a lot of time in London, and it has to go somewhere – it doesn't all get used up at once' (Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere). Explore how one or more texts consider London as a place of simultaneous, different times. 7. Why should the theme of doubles – individuals echoing or reflecting each other – be so insistent in London writing? 8. ‘He tries to see it, or feel it, in historical terms, this moment in the last decades of the petroleum age, when a nineteenth-century device is brought to final perfection in the early years of the twenty-first; when the unprecedented wealth of masses at serious play in the unforgiving modern city makes for a sight that no previous age can have imagined' (Ian McEwan, Saturday, p.168). Is McEwan's picture of the twenty-first century city primarily a celebration or a critique? 9. In what ways have authors and artists used 'one day' narratives to represent London? Consider this question in relation to at least two texts studied on the course. 10. Discuss the ways in which Finisterre invites its audience to gaze upon London. 11. Shakespeare's Henry IV part 1 was written in the late 1590s, but is set in the early 1400s. How does the play combine an idea of history and of the contemporary in the London it represents? 12. ‘I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers, and can call them all by their christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis.' (Prince of Wales, Henry IV part 1, 2.5). What does Shakespeare's play suggest about social class? 13. ‘Writing on the town, however critical, habitually carries the implication that it is preferable to the country.' Write an essay on the use of the horrors of the town to illuminate the even deeper horrors of the country in The Country Wife. 14. ‘The material world of seventeenth-century London is reproduced in early seventeenth-century and Restoration comedy not in a “realistic” mode but almost in the mode of dream and nightmare, as fantasies of riches and ruin' (Sue Wiseman). Discuss with reference to one or two plays. Guidance for Submission of Essays The Department of English & Humanities requires that TWO copies of all pieces of written work (coursework as well as assessed essays) be submitted: one electronic copy and one hard copy. - The electronic copy should be submitted online via the Blackboard Portal at: https://www(dot)ble(dot)ac(dot)uk/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp This will be time stamped and processed through plagiarism software. We must stress that the electronic copy will be time stamped to be submitted by 23:59 hours on the due date and will determine if the work was on time; there will be no exceptions. - The printed hard copy should either be handed in to the School of Arts reception (room G22) at 43 Gordon Square or posted to the coursework submission box in the foyer of 43 Gordon Square by 6:00 pm following the due date. Failure to submit a hard copy will delay marking and results. You should always retain a third copy. In no circumstances should essays be handed to the lecturer or seminar leader. Instructions on Blackboard submission are at: http://wiki(dot)bbk(dot)ac(dot)uk/bb/Turnitin Please note that each piece of printed coursework should be accompanied by a signed Essay Cover Sheet, containing a declaration that this is your own work. This sheet may be obtained from your Programme Administrator, from the foyer of 43 Gordon Square next to the essay submission box, or downloaded from the School of Arts website. Please note that excessively over- or under-length essays will be penalised. Also, please be aware of the university regulations against plagiarism and duplication of your own work (i.e. there should be no overlap between this essay and material presented for assessment elsewhere in this course or in another course). Please ensure that your essay follows the style of referencing outlined in the MHRA stylebook. This is available on the web at http://www(dot)mhra(dot)org(dot)uk/Publications/Books/StyleGuide/download.shtml Please see the relevant BA Handbook for guidelines regarding extensions and late work. Note that it is not possible to grant extensions to any student: no individual member of staff has the authority to grant you an extension, so please do not ask them. Any piece of work that is handed in late will be awarded a provisional penalty mark, which is a maximum of C- (40%). If there are mitigating circumstances which explain the late submission of any essay or essays, please provide written details of such circumstances to the Chair of the Examinations Board in [English, Prof Alison Finlay], [for year 1 essays - please also tell Dr Joe Brooker, the first year tutor]. All written details will be considered at the final examination board next June, and if they are considered to be genuine and compelling, the penalty mark will be revoked and the actual mark merited by the work will be awarded. source..
Content:

Critical Review of Paper:
Do you agree with Thackeray that in Oliver Twist Dickens romanticizes crime by encouraging too much sympathy for the criminal characters?
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Critical Review of Paper:
Do you agree with Thackeray that in Oliver Twist Dickens romanticizes crime by encouraging too much sympathy for the criminal characters?
Introduction
Charles Dickens is one of the prolific writers in his own times. His novels which included Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and Bleak House have been read countless of times, addressed and acclaimed by many critics both in his time and in the following generations.
Dickens’ stories have poverty as its main theme. His novels revolve around characters who are struggling to live day by day. He presented the life in his time through his books and his characters. He presented reality as he saw fit.
The presentation in his stories can be due to the fact that he himself has been suffering in poverty most or almost all his life. At a young age, he had to leave school and work for his living when both his parents and siblings were not there to support him financially. When his father was finally let out of prison, Charles was able to return to school. He became law clerk and later as a journalist. Being a journalist allowed him the chance to be in touch with the darker condition of the London Society.
In the year 1837, the first installment of the book Oliver Twist was published by Bentley’s Miscellany in which Dickens was currently editing. Oliver Twist was said to be animated in part by Dickens’s own childhood experiences and in part by his outrage at the living conditions of the poor that he had witnessed as a journalist, touched his contemporary readers.
Even though he was accused by his critics to have been writing too much too quickly, he continued to write the novel which became a secret revolt against the Poor Law during those times which dictated all public charity must be channeled through workhouses.
Summary
The story begins with the introduction of the main character Oliver twists who was born in 1830’s England. His mother is found on the street about to give birth and dies after Oliver was born. His real identity was never known due to his mother’s death. Oliver spends the first nine years of his life in a badly run home for young orphans and then is transferred to a workhouse for adults.
Food was limited for the children. After the other boys bully Oliver into asking for more gruel at the end of a meal, Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, offers five pounds to anyone who will take the boy away from the workhouse. Oliver narrowly escapes being apprenticed to a brutish chimney sweep and is eventually apprenticed to a local undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. When the undertaker’s other apprentice, Noah Claypole, makes d...
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