by Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Oliver, quite elated and honoured by a sense of his importance, faithfully promised to be secret and explicit in his communications, and Mr. Maylie took leave of him with many warm assurances of his regard and protection. (36.18)
Oliver knows how to write at this point, and his promise to write to Harry and relate to him all that they’ve been up to is a mark of how far he’s come – he’s now not only able to tell his own story, but to tell other peoples’, as well. He’s become a writer of stories, just as Mr. Brownlow predicted.
The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale are nearly closed, and what little remains to their historian to relate is told in few and simple words. (53.1)
The word that stands out here is "historian" – a historian is someone who writes about real people right? And Oliver Twist is a novel, and has never been anything else, even if a lot of it is very realistic, so that it could be real. In this final chapter, it’s as though Dickens is saying goodbye to these (fictional) characters that he (and we) have spent so much time with, and momentarily forgets (or wants us to forget) that they’re fictional.
And now the hand that traces these words falters as it approaches the conclusion of its task. (53.13)
Dickens has, on just a few occasions, thrust himself into the novel to make us conscious of him as the author – just look at the "digressions" quoted above, in which he stops to explain what he’s doing and why. But this is the first (and only) time that he makes himself a physical presence in the novel – he mentions his hand as it’s writing. It’s kind of weird and Addams Family-ish, isn’t it?