Author(s): Misty LACOUR
With the inability to secure adequate employment to sustain life, individuals in the Victorian Era developed street gangs as a substitution for jobs. During this era, novelists published writings depicting this rise of street gangs in London. As some of these novelists met harsh consequences due to their realistic representation of these events, Charles Dickens masterfully depicted the disillusion of Victorian youth by embedding the issue of street gangs within his works. Oliver Twist represents street gang activity prominent in the Victorian Era through the characters of Sikes, Fagin, and their adolescent gang members. As a street gang leader, Fagin substitutes as an authoritarian father-figure for homeless adolescents, using methods of psychological abuse as a means to manipulate, coerce, and control the gang members, leading to Oliver’s inclusion in the gang. Oliver’s experiences in Fagin’s gang depict the events of the street gangs during the era as well as the psychological impacts of gang involvement on youth.