By Linda M. Lewis
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Extra info for Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader
Leeford ferreted out the location of the orphan. Then she copied the act of the Good Samaritan by locating shelter for the child, paying in advance for her care, and promising to pay any extra expense incurred. Mrs. Leeford is, like the Good Samaritan, a surprising rescuer. But her behavior is a mockery of the Samaritan’s because she twice lied: she had no intention of paying future expenses as she had promised, and she told the cottagers who cared for Rose that the little girl was an illegitimate child of “bad blood” (OT 423).
Winter and the Christmas essay, Dickens’s consolation involves the perpetuity of youth; the dead do not grow older as “we”—author and audience—do. Dickens, after all, believed in mesmerism, clairvoyance, the numinous, the uncanny, and unaccountable premonitions and spirits—more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. Given this proclivity and his faith in the New Testament, it is hardly surprising that Dickens also believed in immortality. Dickens, then, did not subscribe to the “creed” of Anglicanism or any other denomination, and he did not trouble himself about the intricacies of theological debate, although he was quite knowledgeable and opinionated about the religious controversies of the last decade of his life.
The robber Bill Sikes behaves similarly. When Oliver is shot in the Sikes/Crackit housebreaking attempt, Sikes pitches the wounded boy into a ditch, agreeing with Fagin and other “philosophers” (as well as the sarcastic narrator) that self-protection is the first law of nature. Throughout the episodes of Oliver’s adventures, Dickens foregrounds the Good Samaritan parable by means of mockery. The acts of Bumble, Mrs. Mann, the Artful 32 Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader Dodger, Fagin, and later in the narrative Sikes and Mrs.
Dickens, His Parables, and His Reader by Linda M. Lewis