David Lean Oliver Twist

Twisting Dickens:

  ...Analyzing David Lean's Adaptation of Oliver Twist...                    By Sara Legenza & Shelley Auer


Critical Essay


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Last Updated: 12/12/2008

Lean’s adaptation of Oliver Twist provides readers with a different view of a classic Dickensian message. Dickens used the tale to tell us to pay attention and help one another. Lean used the tale to show a world hope was always possible. Lean shows us the importance of adaptation and how its purpose may not solely be artistic, but how adaptations may include new purpose. Oliver Twist is a classic tale which will transcend time and the novel proves Dickens to be a master of his craft. Dickens created a character remaining forever young and eternally exemplifying innocence against the odds of human nature. The themes of Oliver Twist: justice, humanity, selfishness, and innocence, are themes which transcend time and follow readers through the generations. The story of young Oliver Twist has been created with adaptation in mind. Ringing true with the story’s title character, Oliver Twist is a tale not meant to fade away with the experience or troubles of an era, but to thrive, adapt, and find itself newly invented with each generation. Just as Dickens, in a time of social turmoil and injustice, saw the need for the story of young Oliver so did David Lean, in the time of a war-torn world, call upon the same little hero to once again, tell the world what it needed to hear.