Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Artful Dodger

Watercolour of The Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist by 'Kyd' (Joseph Clayton Clarke) ca. 1890

Wiki says: Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger, is a character in the Charles Dicken's novel, Oliver Twist. Dodger is a pickpocket, so called for his skill and cunning in that respect. As a result he has become the leader of the gang of child criminals, trained by the elderly Fagin. He becomes Oliver's closest friend (although he betrays him when Oliver was mistakenly caught) and he tries to make him a pickpocket, but soon realizes that Oliver won't, and feels sorry for him saying "What a pity ain't a prig!". He also has a close relationship with Charley Bates. Ultimately the Dodger is caught with a stolen silver snuff box and presumably sent to a penal colony in Australia (only alluded to in the novel). The Dodger chooses to consider himself a "victim of society," roaring in the courtroom "I am an Englishman; where are my rights?" The judge has little patience with the Dodger's posturing, and orders him out of the courtroom immediately after the jury convicts him of the theft. Dickens describes him this way:

"With these last words, the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar, threatening, till he got into the yard, to make a parliamentary business of it, and then grinning in the officer's face, with great glee and self-approval."

"He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers."

The nickname "Artful Dodger" is still commonly used to refer to someone who is good at avoiding responsibility or the consequences of his or her actions.

The Artful Dodger

Rebellion tongs dog
my every step,
snapping my ankles as if
my very dry bones
are too offensive
to leave me alone steaming
in my own robust
caldron, stewing poop
left by that damn elephant
they gave me, the prize
for being so good
at the science of dodging.

August 23, 2011 7:22 PM


  1. there is humor in this. this prize we win or pay, i like to say as long as we are loving it, doing it out of love, it can't be wrong, whatever the prize we pay or get!

  2. I said just yesterday, sometimes I want to drop responsibility like a bag of groceries, watch the eggs run into the pavement...see the jars role and bet against the ones that will break, marvel at those that don't. But I don't have the arms for it.

  3. Watch your step!
    Stay away from the backend
    A gift to me
    From that oh so gracious
    Science community
    Steamy and fragrant
    Its offerings are
    Here’s what I say
    Never look a gift elephant in the rump

  4. Jozien, indeed, humor that points to truth of some kind which of course is the deep allegory behind elephant business. :D

    Annie, that's a disaster, being trapped in responsibility, distinct from the chosen and accepted responsibilities. I pray you free of all traps.

    Mr. Ment Well, Hoot! the monkeys are leaping across thin air in glee, tree branch to vine and swinging. Don't look baboons in the rump either.

  5. HAHA I smile! I'm begining to think this thing is necessary in my life.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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