Oliver Twist: Bate's Innuendo's

Oliver Twist: Bate's Innuendo's

A Story by Brandee D. Hack

I was recently reading Oliver Twist for class, and I thought I would show you my work. Mainly, because maybe if you read the Great Dickens' you didn't think about this character this way...


In Dickens’ tale of Oliver Twist, he has many interesting surprises throughout the novel, or installments. One of the many innuendos appears when he introduces Bates character (Master Bates). Honestly, this character can be taken from many different points of view.

            From one light in Oliver Twist he just portrays the character in a normal light. I say “normal light” in reference to the time period in which Dickens lived. Dickens lived in a time period when a ‘gentleman status’ was referred to as “Master”. So in this sense, the usage of “Master Bates” can be referred to as a  
period reference and nothing more.

            In the second light in Oliver Twist, Dickens portrays the character different. By different, I mean he takes his writing a step further unto a sexual undertone. It may not be completely significant or something that one would catch on to rather quickly; however, if you do take notice to it, it opens up many references throughout the novel that you would otherwise overlook.

            To further back up the ‘second light’ of Master Bates with novelic proof, I will reference chapter nine of the novel. In chapter nine, Dickens’ writes:


“'Wipes,' replied Master Bates; at the same time producing four pocket-handkerchiefs.”


This reference may be very small and may seem insignificant, but please allow me to dig further. With this quote, if you were to really think of it in a perverted manner, you would take an obscene thought from it. However that thought can be different or the same as mine depending of your view (ie. People have many different opinions, views and thought processes). With this quote, I only see “Wipes…Master Bates…” In this context, I think of the process in which his name is referenced. Would you not perceive this as unholy thoughts in Dickens’ times period?

            These innuendos are scattered throughout the novel in conjunction with Charlie Bates, or Master Bates. It may not seem like much, but if you have this mentality as you read Oliver Twist, then you may see so many things in the book that you hadn’t noticed before. It also makes you question why Dickens’ did it. Was it for comic relief? Was it unintentional? If it was intentional, did anyone take notice? There are so many open-ended questions. One may only speculate the possibilities. However, for myself, I do not believe that it was unintentional, but that it help the novel with comic relief, as well as, make those with a “witty” sense of humour enjoy themselves. 

© 2012 Brandee D. Hack

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Added on March 4, 2012
Last Updated on March 4, 2012


Brandee D. Hack
Brandee D. Hack

Ireland Co.

Hello all. My name is Brandee. I have wrote many different genres of writings for many years. I hope that by putting it up that that will help me get some feedback and constructive criticism. .. more..