The other day I came across a Facebook post with a video about ‘Great Literature’ and how it bridges us to alternate realities that a single person could never begin to experience in a life time. It gives us a chance to ‘walk around in another person’s skin’ to quote Harper Lee.
Yesterday, after finishing reading Dickens’ Oliver Twist, I was meditating on the idea of great literature allowing us to experience something that would be impossible otherwise. While reading Oliver Twist I ran with him through the muddy streets of mid-19th century London, being caught up with thieves, yet not caving into their profession. Something that is impossible to experience today since we have traveled out of the 19th century, through the 20th, into the 21st.
I found myself feeling intensely sorry for Oliver and angry at the injustices he endured during his short life. Dickens did a great job poking fun at the authorities in-charge of ‘caring’ for the poor in England. I highly recommend Oliver Twist to anyone wanting the challenge of reading a 19th century mystery.