In Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, a boy named Oliver lives his strange life in Fagin's pickpocket street gang, and workhouses. Through his life he has people and groups of people who both help and deceive him. Charles Dickens uses a technique known as ironic reversal of values to make a profound effect in the way the novel is perceived. That is, characters with the responsibility to aid Oliver don't, those expected to treat Oliver harshly do the opposite, and characters in the upper class fall to poverty while those in poverty become the upper class.
Oliver's life begins in a workhouse, when in less than a year he is transferred to a private workhouse asylum. There he found poor conditions and poor nutrition. Some of the children who lived with Oliver died due to systematic starvation:
Unfortunately for the experimental philosophy of the female to whose protecting care Oliver Twist was delivered over, a similar result usually attended to the operation of her system; for at the very moment when a child had contrived to exist upon the smallest possible portion of the weakest possible food it did perversely happen in eight and a half cases out of ten, either that it sickened from want and cold, or fell into the fire from neglect, or got half-smothered by accident, in any one of which cases the miserable little being was usually summoned into another world, and there gathered to the fathers it had never known in this.
Due to the fact that Oliver lived with the people who were supposed to take care of him he approached the line of starvation. The woman in charge would feed the children only enough food to keep them barely alive. She did this so she could keep the left over money meant for food to herself, while also providing a form of population control for the paupers. If any child asked for more gruel they were punished severely. "For a week after...asking for more, Oliver remained a close prisoner to th... Continues...