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Quotes

Quote #4

"[…]wouldn’t they, Tom White, -- eh?"

"My name is Oliver, sir," replied the little invalid with a look of great astonishment.

"Oliver!" said Mr. Brownlow; "Oliver what? Oliver White,-- eh?"

"No, sir, Twist,-- Oliver Twist."

"Queer name," said the old gentleman. (12.53-56)

This is the exchange between Oliver and Mr. Brownlow when Brownlow learns Oliver’s real name. It’s a turning point in their relationship, because it’s the first time that Oliver is able to tell Mr. Brownlow a portion of his own story (what his name is) instead of having someone else tell it for him (all the crowd calling him a thief; the police officer calling him "young gallows" and "fogle-hunter," the man in the striped waistcoat making up a name because Oliver’s incapable of talking for himself, etc). And here’s the amazing part: Mr. Brownlow believes him, even though it "sounded so like a falsehood" (12.58). Oliver just has something in his face that seems truthful.

Quote #5

Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts exercises even over the appearance of external objects. Men who look on nature and their fellow men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the somber colours are reflections from their own jaundiced vision. (34.60)

This is an interesting statement – we’re able to control the external world based on what’s going on in our minds? Basically it’s just another way of saying that your attitude colors your perception of everything around you, but this way of putting it breaks down boundaries of inside and outside, and suggests that your interior life has a direct impact on the external world around you.

Quote #6

There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us sometimes which, while it holds the body prisoner, does not free the mind from a sense of things about it, and enable it to ramble as it pleases. So far as an overpowering heaviness, a prostration of strength, and an utter inability to control our thoughts or power of motion can be called sleep, this is it; and yet we have a consciousness of all that is going on about us. (34.65)

This is a moment of total passivity – Oliver is completely without agency when Fagin and Monks appear at his window. Unlike at other moments, when his interior life impacts the world around him, here sleep (or half sleep) causes a breakdown between the inside and the outside. His unconsciousness and immobility allow outsiders to approach (and possibly to enter) the supposedly inviolate space of the house, and to invade Oliver’s mind to corrupt him.

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