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Dickens also describes Fagin’s clothes, what Fagin wears appears to make him look very poor. ” He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown, with his throat bare”. This is meant to make the reader know that Fagin or “the Jew” is poor and doesn’t dress particularly well, because at the time it was considered polite for men to have a covered throat.
Fagin later greets Oliver by saying:” We are very glad to see you, Oliver, very”. He talks to Oliver in almost a sarcastic tongue, because the Jew is not really pleased to see Oliver, he is only pleased to see Oliver because Oliver could become another pickpocket and ultimately make some money and a living. By doing this Fagin is exploiting Oliver’s young mind, Oliver won’t understand that the Jew is being sarcastic, Oliver will just think the Jew is being nice.
This gives the impression that Fagin is a very sneaky character.
Fagin then sees that Oliver is looking at his handkerchiefs and is very quick to defend himself on the origins of the handkerchiefs. “Ah you’re staring at my pocket handkerchiefs! Eh my dear! There are a good many of them ain’t there? We’ve just hung them out; ready for the wash; that’s all, Oliver that’s all ha! Ha! Ha! Again the way that Dickens wants the sentence to be interpreted is sarcastic, the way that Fagin says that the handkerchiefs are his own is obviously incorrect which makes the reader question Fagin: “where did he really get those handkerchiefs from”.
Dickens wants the reader to immediately know that Fagin is not as nice as he appears to be and is actually a dangerous figure. Also after he says this the young pupils of Fagin all laugh as if the very phrase that Fagin just said was a joke. This again is an attempt by Dickens to give the hint to the reader that what Fagin says is a lie, and the pocket-handkerchiefs are not his at all.
“The Jew mixed him a glass of hot gin and water, telling him he must drink it off directly because another gentlemen wanted the tumbler… He sunk into a deep sleep”. Oliver is made to drink the hot gin and water very quickly and shortly after he falls into a deep sleep; the gin and water obviously contains a sleeping drought. This also is another attempt by Dickens to make the reader think or assume that the Jew is very tricky and sneaky person and is also someone that you cannot trust.
Oliver wakes up the next day alone in the house with just Fagin, and sees Fagin looking at jewels and also talking to himself about capital punishment. ” He sat down and drew form it, a magnificent gold watch sparkling with jewels” the way Dickens says that Fagin’s eyes glistened when he opened the box containing the jewels suggests to the reader that Fagin only really cares about himself and he really only loves money (or things that can get him money; in this case the watch).
Later on fagin talks to himself: “what a fine thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent; dead men never bring awkward stories to light. Ah! It’s a fine thing for the trade! Five of them strung up in a row, and none left to play booty, or turn white-livered”. Dickens made Fagin talk to himself to make the reader think that Fagin himself is a strange weird character and very self-obsessed. Also when Fagin is talking about how good capital punishment is, he means that capital punishment is good for him because the people who get caught by the police and are sent to be hanged are not able to tell the police about Fagin and his dodgy dealings because they are dead. Dickens again used this to tell the reader that Fagin is a criminal and is not a very respectable person, he only cares about himself because he is only happy for capital punishment because it means none of his caught associates turn him in.
Fagin’s attitude very suddenly changes to a snappy aggressive one when he sees that Oliver had just seen everything that he had done and had said. ” He closed the box with a loud crash; and laying his hand on a bread knife which was on the table, stared furiously up”. This shows that Fagin himself is an extremely snappy character in the way he slammed the box and lay his hand over the bread knife; this could also show to the reader that Fagin is violent and aggressive. It could also show to he reader that Fagin was only being nice to Oliver the night before because he didn’t want him to run away, he was trying to befriend him for his own selfish misuse.
He then threatens Oliver to tell him what he has seen and heard. ” What have you seen? Speak out boy! Quick! Quick! For your life!” This shows to the reader that Fagin Is extremely curious on what Oliver has seen and heard, this is probably because the jewels that he got tout the box before weren’t his own. Fagin’s attitude rapidly changes in this section and this tells the reader that Fagin is an extremely snappy aggressive figure, especially when it comes to his possessions, probably because there not really his.
Dickens later on describes the Jew when he is going for a meal: He describes the Jew again in an extremely negative view. He describes him using phrases like: “Shrivelled body”, “evil”, “and villainy”, demoniacal a ” hideous old man”. Dickens attitude to the Jew is obviously negative and he describes him in this way because of his attitude. The reader would react to this in a repulsive manner because if they picture Fagin in this instance they don’t get a particularly nice picture. Dickens wants the reader to associate Fagin, with criminals and generally nasty, horrible things.
After building up Fagin to be a thorough villain he finally gets caught and is imprisoned. While in the prison waiting to be hanged his attitude changes extremely. He goes from a seemingly joyful character, full of himself to a depressed sorrowful character, of which the reader may even feel be slightly sorrowful for him themselves given the circumstances. In reply to the question “Are you a man?” he says ” “I shan’t be on for long” … looking up with a face retaining no human expression but rage and terror.
“Strike them all-dead! What Right do they have to butcher me?” His attitude has already changed dramatically from his old bubberly full of himself attitude, to one full of rage, terror and worry. Fagin has suddenly became aware of the act that he will soon become one in the long line of people to be hung for his crime. He is full of rage and anger because he is next to be hung for his crime and did not believe he was going to get caught.
Oliver then come s in and talks to Fagin about their ordeal. “Oh! God forgive this wretched man!” cried Oliver, this shows that although all of the bad things Fagin has done to Oliver, Oliver is still willing to forgive Fagin. This is a typical Victorian ending in which Fagin gets his just end and Oliver the small boy who was at the end of some of Fagin’s dealing forgives Fagin. The Victorian reader would be satisfied with this ending because everything ends up for the best. In conclusion I think Dickens created Fagin in his light because he wanted to show his attitude and the attitude of most Victorians in that time to Jews. In Victorian times most people did agree with Dickens and his vies on social reform and Jews. In Short I think Dickens aired a lot of his views on social reform, what he thought of the laws and Jews in the novel.