Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Second Advisor

Dr. LeAnne Richardson

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Galchinsky


This thesis looks at the criminals of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist as a criminal type: impoverished, unattractive people who lack family roots. It establishes connections between the criminal characters themselves as well as the real-world conditions which inspired their stereotypes. The conditions of poverty and a lack of family being tied to criminality is founded in reality, while the tendency for criminals to be unattractive is based on social bias and prejudice. It also identifies conflicting ideologies in the prevailing Victorian mindset that begins to emerge as a result of research into the criminal type.