Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oliver Twist and Shasta

Comparing Oliver Twist to The Horse and His Boy may seem far-fetched, but the stories are more similar than you might think.

First we have Oliver and Shasta (unlike Aravis, I prefer to keep calling him this name instead of Cor.) They both have an innocent quality. Oliver's is more because he's a little younger and it's central to the story that he's the innocent victim. Shasta's is less because C.S. Lewis never leaves accountability out of his stories. For Shasta to be accountable for his actions, he can't be entirely innocent. In him, it's more just an air of innocence, coupled with a lot of ignorance. Oliver also has some ignorance, though, as he falls into his den of thieves, as compared with Shasta's Calormen. They're both on a quest to get away from this griminess to where they originated, with the London elite and with the Narnians.

Now on to Bree and . . . Mr. Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger. That's a funny image; I don't think either one would like it very much. The reason for both statements? They both have such an ego. They both think so much of themselves. Of course, in Bree's case, his ego handicaps him, while the Artful nearly always keeps his head because of his confidence. Their relationship to Oliver/Shasta is similar, as well. The Dodger teaches Oliver to pick pockets and Bree teaches Shasta to "raid" the Calormenes during their journey. Sure, it seems like Bree is justified in this (what else could they do?), but then we come back to accountability. They were stealing, justified or no.

The female characters are a little harder. I've settled on Nancy and Aravis, and Rose Maylie and Hwin. The first two have spirit and manage to see right and wrong even in difficult situations. Rose and Hwin are both sweet, gentle, and kind.

And there it is. I could try to go on by saying that Rabadash and Bill Sykes both were willing to kill and loved one of the female characters or that Arsheesh is greedy like Fagin, but I think my comparisons will start to run dry if I go so far.

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