Oliver & Company Stirs City Sentiments

Oliver & Company Stirs City Sentiments

by Jenny Chan

The popular Disney movie “Oliver and Company inspired by Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” depicts a homeless kitten named Oliver, roaming the streets of New York, where he is taken in by a gang of homeless dogs who survive by stealing from others for their master, Fagin. The setting of Disney’s “Oliver and Company” is in New York City during the 1980’s, the hustle and bustle of vehicles in the streets shows the busy life in the city. “Oliver and Company” shows the ambivalence of New York City in a negative and positive light, the negative of the pickpockets like Fagin who uses Oliver for money and loan sharks like Sykes who ends up kidnapping Jenny Foxworth for ransom, but the positive of kind hearted people like Jenny and her family who take in Oliver and the positive vision of wealth status that they hold. The famous song “Why Should I Worry” performed by Billy Joel depicts the big city life. The lyrics are:

“One minute I’m in Central Park

Then I’m down on Delancey Street

From the Bowery to St. Marks

There’s a syncopated Beat

I’m streetwise

I can improvise

I’m street-smart

I’ve got New York City heart


The Rhythm of the City

Once you get it down

You can own this town

You can wear the crown

Why should I worry?

Why should I care?

And even when I cross that line

I got street savoir-faire”

The lyrics emphasize a care free life in the city, and the freedom to do what one wants to do or be where they want to be. The second set of lyrics from above shows pride in living in New York City, with a “New York City heart”. The third set of lyrics emphasis the getting use to city life and how it can be hard, but once city life is accepted by the individual, there may be many opportunities that the city life can hold for that person.

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