While I don't feel this is Dickens' best, I still consider it a crucial work of his. This 2nd novel of his certainly emphasizes the harsh conditions of Victorian England. Also, this novel demonstrates his cynical sense of humour. He also demonstrates his skill of creating dramatic irony. Fagin (the so called villain) treats Oliver and the other boys much better than the legitimate firms. Also, Dickens portrays an interesting contrast. One one hand, we have the frightening psychopath Bill Sikes. On the other hand, Fagin clearly DOES have a conscience. (This is clearly displayed when Sikes goes into a rage and Fagin expresses his concern.) It is also interesting that the legitimate firms abuse Oliver and the other boys without a second thought. I can not overemphasize the grace in which Dickens makes Fagin's death very slow, tragic, and painful for us. We also have altruistic characters such as Mr. Brownlow and Rose. Characters such as Mr. Grimwig add some welcome comical touches. So we have strong images, a bitter representation of the period, comical touches, dramatic irony, and well drawn tragic scenes. Enjoy!