“Please, sir, I want some more . . . . Please, sir . . . I want some more”: Unhooding Richler’s Fang to Find Justice for Oliver Twist and Jacob Two-Two

  • Brian Gibson
Keywords: George Cruikshank, Charles Dickens

Abstract

This comparison of the treatment of Oliver Twist by the magistrate Mr. Fang and other adults in Dickens’ 1837 novel with the treatment of Jacob by Justice Rough and other adults in Richler’s 1975 book, along with a comparison of some of George Cruikshank’s illustrations with some of Fritz Wegner’s illustrations, reveals stylistic echoes and riffs on the early-Victorian work by the late-20th century work and a deep shift in social, cultural, and legal attitudes to the child. Oliver is helpless and powerless on his own in a harsh, adult world, while Jacob is a “little person” with his own rights, his powerlessness coming from within. Dickens and Cruikshank trap the non-adult in a pre-Marxist, materially threatening society, whereas Richler and Wegner move the pre-adult through a post-Freudian society where Jacob is psychologically belittled by adults threatened by “Child Power.”

Author Biography

Brian Gibson

Brian Gibson is an Assistant Professor at Université Sainte-Anne, where he teaches English literature and film. His publications on children’s literature include: “Murdering Adulthood: Lost Girls, Boy Soldiers, and Child Killers in Saki’s Fiction” in Childhood in Edwardian Fiction: Worlds Enough and Time(Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); “‘Let’s Consider Who It Was That Dreamed All’: Looking Through The Refracted Glass of Narrative at Authorship and Authority in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books” in The Carrollian (2003); “One Man Is an Island: Natural Landscape Imagery in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island" in Victorian Newsletter (2002). He is a film critic for Vue Weekly.

Published
2010-09-21
How to Cite
Gibson, B. (2010). “Please, sir, I want some more . . . . Please, sir . . . I want some more”: Unhooding Richler’s Fang to Find Justice for Oliver Twist and Jacob Two-Two. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 2(2). Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/64
Section
Articles