Text 28 Oliver Twist and 33 Poterhouse Blue both present social commentary for the reader on two very different parts of society at the time that the two texts are written and set.
Text 28 presents social commentary for us as the reader to inform us on the conditions of the workhouse and how the children living there were treated. Text 28 does this in a simplistic and realistic way that informs the reader on how poorly the children were treated and the terrible conditions as well as entertaining us as readers through the clever, witty language and the techniques used. One of the ways this is done is through Dickins’ choice of lexis. Dickins says: “The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again” by using the lexis “polished” it gives the reader a sense of irony as the setting is presented in a negative way but use of the word “polished” suggests a sense of luxury. The irony emphasises the negative presentation of the setting as us as the reader start to feel sympathy for the children living in the terrible conditions which are nothing like the ostentatious dinning setting presented in text 33. Dickins says: “they would sit staring at the copper, with such eager eyes as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed” by saying “devoured the bricks” it shows us as the reader how desperate and starving the children are which is emphasised as bricks are not appealing yet the children are “staring at the copper, with such eager eyes”. Dickins goes on to say: “Boys have generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months”. The lexis choice of “suffered”, “tortured” and “starvation” shocks us as the reader as we realise the harsh reality of what the boys had to go through and this is emphasised due to the effect of the word choice and putting them together as well as juxtaposing the words “excellent” with “suffered”, “tortured” and “starvation”.
In comparison to text 28, text 33 informs us as the reader on the conditions and setting through hyperbole, listing and extravagant lexis. Sharpe says; “There was Caviar and Soupe á l’Oignon, Turbot au Champagne, Swan stuffed with Widgeon, and finally, in memory of the Founder, Beefsteak from an ox roasted whole in the great fireplace of the College Hall.” By listing the fine foods that they eat it emphasises the excessiveness and richness of the feast. The food listed are all superb and opulent, through the hyperbole of such expensive foods it emphasises how well off the individuals in the college were. Text 33 displays the fine feast in an extravagant way by using fine foods this is completely different to how food is presented in text 28 as it is just presented as “gruel” and “two ounces and a quarter of bread”. Text 28 uses simplistic lexis in comparison to the complex lexis used in in text 33, complex lexis is used in text 33 emphasises the challenges the new ‘Dean’ at the college is facing as he is struggling to understand and adapt to the way that the individuals at the college eat; as they gorge themselves until they feel physically ill. Sharpe says: “A fixed dyspeptic smile lent a grim animation to Sir Godber’s pale features as if his mind found relief from the present discomforts of the flesh in some remote and wholly intellectual joke.” Sharpe describes Sir Godber as having “a fixed dyspeptic smile” this shows to us as the reader that Sir Godber will carry on eating even though he feels