I want to discuss Oliver’s discourse so far and what that implies about the society he lives in. His discourse has mostly been passive, because he only gets a chance to speak when he is confronted and even if he does, he is never trusted. As readers, we seldom get any insights on what exactly is going on in Oliver’s mind, and he rarely conveys to people or has anyone to convey to, about his feelings and thoughts. So I was glad to see when Oliver was finally given a chance to talk about his past and was entrusted at Mrs. Maylie’s house. It was the first time in his life that he was able to speak about his sufferings; the process of his recollection was difficult just as his journey was: “The Conference was a long one; for Oliver told them all his simple history: and was often compelled to stop, by pain and want of strength. It was a solemn thing, to hear, in the darkened room, the feeble voice of the sick child recounting a weary catalogue of evils and calamities which hard men had brought upon him” (163). Simply having listeners to his stories was a kind of grace for Oliver, because he wasn’t always so fortunate.
Before finding his haven at Mrs. Maylie’s house, Oliver met people who simply do not care about what he has to say: Fagin could tell by his appearance that Oliver was obviously just another orphan for him to exploit. Mr. Bumble shamelessly lies about Oliver’s past because he knows that his words will always be more credible than Oliver’s due to his age and status. And Mr. Brownlow chose to believe in whatever the stranger tells him instead of trusting Oliver who was sincere and grateful. In this society, innocent children are easily mistaken as malicious liars, which indicates how skeptical and insecure they are of each other. Even when people do have interest in what Oliver has to say, the interest always lies in his past, which is directly related to his status or his family’s status. Mr. Bumble’s fabrication begins with how Oliver was “born of low and vicious parents” (95) which clearly has a great impact on what Mr. Brownlow thinks of Oliver. The only place where social status and history doesn’t matter is at the bottom of the social hierarchy which is a catch itself.