Author: Charles John Huffam Dickens
Dates: 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870
Title of Book: Oliver Twist
Oliver reached the stile at which the by-path terminated; and once more gained the high-road. It was eight o’clock now. Though he was nearly five miles away from the town, he ran, and hid behind the hedges, by turns, till noon: fearing that he might be pursued and overtaken. Then he sat down to rest by the side of the milestone, and began to think, for the first time, where he had better go and try to live.
The stone by which he was seated, bore, in large characters, an intimation that it was just seventy miles from that spot to London. The name awakened a new train of ideas in the boy’s mind. London!- that great large place!- nobody- not even Mr. Bumble- could ever find him there! He had often heard the old men in the workhouse, too, say that no lad of spirit need want in London; and that there were ways of living in that vast city, which those who had been bred up in country parts had no idea of. It was the very place for a homeless boy, who must die in the streets unless some one helped him. As these things passed through his thoughts, he jumped upon his feet, and again walked forward.
He had diminished the distance between himself and London by full four miles more, before he recollected how much he must undergo ere he could hope to reach his place of destination. As this consideration forced itself upon him, he slackened his pace a little, and meditated upon his means of getting there. He had a crust of bread, a coarse shirt, and two pairs of stockings, in his bundle. He had a penny too- a gift of Sowerberry’s after some funeral in which he had acquitted himself more than ordinarily well- in his pocket. “A clean shirt,” thought Oliver, “is a very comfortable thing; and so are two pairs of darned stockings; and so is a penny; but they are small helps to a sixty-five miles’ walk in winter time.” But Oliver’s thoughts, like those of most other people, although they were extremely ready and active to point out his difficulties, were wholly at loss to suggest any feasible mode of surmounting them; so, after a good deal of thinking to no particular purpose, he changed his little bundle over to the other shoulder, and trudged on.
Brief Biography: Dickens is regarded as the greatest novelist of the 19th century. As a boy he was forced to leave school and work in a factory when his father was thrown in debtor’s prison and Dickens lacked a formal education. In his novels his keen observational skills and wit enabled him to use his writing to highlight the rights of children, education and many other social issues.