The boys of the workhouse were not fed a healthy amount of nutritious food; instead they were forced to eat leftovers which went by the name ‘Gruel’. One boy was afraid that he would ‘eat the boy who slept next to him as he was not friendly with the idea of small amounts of rubbish every day. Dickens uses Hyperbole to create sympathy for the boys, they are young boys who need nutrition to grow up, but yet they are being served gruel! Nobody was allowed to ask for more food in the workhouse.
Asking for more was considered a crime, one that was worse than being poor. Again, Dickens uses pathos, but this time he uses it to describe how Oliver was treated after making a brave request for more food. “That boy will be hung! ” was mentioned soon after his request was confirmed. It makes us feel sympathy towards Oliver because we know that he will be punished for naturally wanting more food! Irony is used to partly show sympathy for Oliver and outline the type of person who has been looking after him in the workhouse.
“You feel as a mother, Mrs. Mann. ” The woman’s name is Mrs Mann, and yet she behaves just as she would towards children if she was male. Her attitudes and behaviour towards Oliver and the rest of the children of the workhouse do not reflect, nor are they similar to, those of a real mother. This shows sympathy because it tells us that he will not be treated as if he had a loving mother, but instead he will be taken care of by someone who couldn’t care less about his condition.
Additional sympathy is displayed for young Oliver at a point after his birth; his mother was about to die, while he was fighting for his life, and yet the surgeon still has time to stare at fire. “The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire: giving the palms of his hands a warm rub alternately” The surgeon is sitting with his face turned away from Oliver, not worrying what could happen while his head is turned or how Oliver’s mother is coping.
He has more important things to do, like rub his palms together in a critical moment. Sympathy is shown towards Oliver in this section of the novel because he and his mother were both neglected in their time of need. Dickens mainly creates sympathy for Oliver twist by using hyperbole and pathos, along with describing how he was treated in the workhouse. Dickens wanted to change the view on poor people and I think he may have been successful because a lot of people now understand how it feels to be poor although being poor was not his fault.