Oliver Twist

by: Charles Dickens

Purity

Quotes Purity
The blessing was from a young child’s lips, but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head; and through the struggles and sufferings . . . he never once forgot it.

The narrator describes the scene when, en route to London, Oliver comes across Dick, a dying boy from the farm, who wishes him well with God’s blessing. This scene demonstrates the purity both orphan boys naturally possess. Touched by the gesture, Oliver remains devoted to Dick and, when he achieves security with Rose and Mr. Brownlow, longs to rescue Dick. For his part, Dick cares little about his own grim future and follows his instinct to show Oliver that he cares. The boys’ compassion and mutual devotion refute the premise put forth by many characters in the novel that poor people are corrupt and bound for criminality.

This sounded so like a falsehood that the old gentleman looked somewhat sternly in Oliver’s face. It was impossible to doubt him; there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened lineaments.

When Oliver recovers from his illness, he reveals to Mr. Brownlow his real name, claiming he never provided “Tom White” to the magistrate. As the narrator explains here, Mr. Brownlow finds this story suspicious but instead of putting his faith in the words of others, he looks to Oliver and sees only honesty and trustworthiness. In the novel, Oliver himself embodies purity and goodness. The people who likewise possess these qualities, like Mr. Brownlow and Rose, instantly recognize them in Oliver. Corrupt people like Fagin and Sikes believe they can pervert his innate nature.

“Sit down,” said Rose, earnestly. “If you are in poverty or affliction I shall be truly glad to relieve you if I can,—I shall indeed. Sit down.”

Upon meeting Nancy for the first time, Rose displays selfless kindness that Nancy’s obviously low station in life barely merits. Unlike the hotel employees, Rose does not focus on Nancy’s looks, dress, or doubtful character. Instead, she senses that Nancy feels deeply troubled and, without even knowing the cause, vows to help in any way she can. Like her brother Oliver, Rose embodies goodness and, through her association with Mrs. Maylie, she has the means to act upon her best intentions.