Reading English novelist’s book reveals importance of justice
A Kind Heart
Published: Jan 04, 2024 09:18 PM


Editor's Note:

"Read ten thousand books, and your pen will be guided as if by the gods" is an ancient Chinese idiom that can be seen in students' textbooks. China's Ministry of Education has published an action plan to further promote reading among students across the nation. With new and diverse book recommendations, the reading scene is expected to be revived not only at schools, but also across society. To contribute to this endeavor, the Global Times launched "My Reading Life" essay contest for middle school students.

Please pick up a pen and share your stories with us at

Participants will be rewarded once the article has been selected.

The book I want to recommend is Oliver Twist, a world masterpiece.

The author of this book was Charles Dickens. He was born in London and his childhood was not happy. He often worked as child labor. But it also gave him some life experience. And it made him a success as he became one of the most famous writers in the world. 

Oliver Twist is set during the Industrial Revolution. The main story is that a little boy called Oliver loses his parents and grows up in an orphanage. But the orphanage director is corrupt. He just provides a bowl of porridge a day to each child. The children are hungry, so they decide to beg the director to give them more food. However, they don't know who to be sent to ask the director for more food. They then decide to choose someone by lots. Unfortunately, they choose Oliver. The next day, they eat as usual, but at the end of the meal, the other children tell Oliver to get more food. But the director was very corrupt. He not only doesn't give him more food, but also beats him.

After this event, Oliver is sold as an apprentice. He is smart and he learns fast. The another apprentice is jealous of Oliver, and insults his mother. Oliver can't stand this and beats him. This changes the attitude of the master who liked Oliver and he beats Oliver with a stick. Oliver is angry and aggrieved, so he decides to escape this place. The next morning, he packs up and leaves for London.

When he arrives in London, he meets a boy called "a deep card." He gives Oliver some food and takes him home. There are many children in the house, they are all orphans. One time, Oliver follows "a deep card" out onto the street, and Oliver is arrested for stealing the handkerchief of a gentleman named Brownlow. After that, the bookstore owner proves he is not a thief. As Oliver is badly injured, Brownlow takes him in because he is kind. Fagin, the leader of the child orphans, is afraid that Oliver will reveal their secret. So Fagin sends Nancy to get him back. Oliver gets into the thief nest again, but kind Oliver doesn't want to do bad things. He wants to escape, but he is shot by someone. Fortunately, he meets Miss Ross and she takes him in. I didn't realize that Ross was his aunt, but they don't know that. Oliver is happy.

In the latter part of the story, Oliver receives an inheritance. He also finds relatives and lives a happy and comfortable life with those honest and kind people.

Oliver Twist reveals an era of injustice. It shows how a child can remain good and pure despite adversity and ultimate overcomes the injustice and the dark hand of society. This story teaches us no matter what difficulties we encounter, as long as we stick to our faith and uphold kindness, we can find our own happiness and a home. His story not only shows a child's growth, but also is an exploration and reflection on society. The story deeply touches the hearts of readers, evoking thoughts about justice. Oliver Twist has an important place in literature, making it a classic work in the world.    

Besides the book Oliver Twist, I want to talk a little bit more about the book's author Charles Dickens. Dickens had many titles such as an author, journalist, illustrator and social commentator. The author was born in Portsmouth and later his whole family moved to Camden Town in London. Today's Camden Town is one of London's most trendy neighborhoods and is known for its cultural diversity and vintage culture. However, at Dickens's times, the area was poor and chaotic. Dickens did not grow up in a rich and prestigious family and suffered from constant hunger. Such an experience to some extent inspired the author to depict orphanage characters in his book. Those poor little children were just like mirrors of the author himself. 

The author's books have also been adapted into different popular cultural productions. In 1968, film director Carol Reeds' Oliver, an adaption of Oliver Twist, debuted. British filmmaker David Lean also adapted Great Expectations in 1946. Although Dickens passed away in the 1870s due to a stroke, his legacy has continued to today, inspiring many young readers like me. 

No matter if it is an English novel or a Chinese novel, I feel that literature has the power to bridge people of different cultural backgrounds. 

It is really a timeless art form. Reading Dickens' English novel has encouraged me to learn English and keep improving my Chinese at the same time. 

I hope I can also be a good writer and translator in the future, to engage more people in the art of books. 

The author is a student at Beijing Wenhui Middle School