Comparison of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist

Danielle Wills
Compare and contrast the opening chapters of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist
The bildungsroman genre was very popular in the Victorian era. Dickens and many of his contempories wrote books based around this genre, which are now extremely well known. But what is Bildungsroman? A Bildungsroman novel tells a story of an individual’s growth and development. It also follows an individual on a journey, where they gain a place in society and an understanding of meaningful existence within that society. The process of the individual’s maturity is often long, difficult and very gradual.
During the Victorian Era, in England, a publishing trend rose to popularity in the world of the novel called serialized fiction. The greatest novelists of the time, including Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Thackeray and Joseph Conrad, chose to publish their newest works of fiction in instalments. These instalments ran in popular magazines and newspapers or were produced in cheaply bound sections over a period of many months. Because this format was more affordable, people outside of the upper class could purchase books for the first time. The publishing phenomenon sparked a growth not only in the number of people desiring to read, but also in literacy rates.
Oliver Twist and great expectations are both great novels by the same talented Novelist, Charles Dickens. Both novels follow the traditional Victorian bildungsroman genre but tell the stories of two boys raring to go on two completely different journeys into maturity. Oliver Twist is an eponym of the main character, Oliver Twist. This novel also has an alternative title, “The Parish Boys Progress”. The alternative title broadens who the story could be about, instead of it revolving around one individual it could be about any Parish Boy. ‘Parish Boy’ depicts no progress but the title ‘Oliver Twist’ suggests that there could be some sort of progress for the main character because he isn’t branded as an object...