Charles Dickens di Elisa Armellino


1. Understanding of vocabulary

a) Why the children are defined with the adjective “wild” at the beginning of the chapter? Circle the word you find more suitable to understand the meaning of the above mentioned one.

- unhappy

- violent

- crazy

- sad

- offended

b) “Lots were CAST who should walk up to the master after supper that evening”. Can you re-write the sentence using another word for “cast” but meaning the same thing in the sentence?

Choose among theseverbs: to forgive, to throw, to chose, to condemn

c) Can you guess the meaning of ‘pauper’ to indicate the master’s “pauper assistants”? Write your answer.

Pauper =

2.“And a long grace was said over the short commons”.

Say whether the following statements are true or false by circling ‘T’ or ‘F’:

- A “grace” is a miracle = T F

- A “grace” is a prayer said before a meal to thank God = T F

- “Short commons” are small rations of food

- “Short commons” are qualities you have in common with others = T F

3.What is a “basin of gruel”?

Choose the right answer by circling the one you think is correct.

a) A utensil in the kitchen

b) A bowl of broth

c) A refined dish

4. “The boys whispered to each other and winked at Oliver, while his next neighbours nudged him”.

What is the meaning of “to nudge”? What do you think Oliver’s companions did to prompt him into going to ask for more gruel? Circle the right answer:

a) They whispered something to him

b) They kicked his chair

c) They pushed him with their elbow

5. Mr. Bumble and Mr. Limbkins are very important men. They belong to the board.

What is a board? Circle the right answer:

a) A club

b) A group of people who take important decisions

c) A secret society


1) At the beginning of the chapter, the narrator describes Oliver’s and his companions’ physical and psychological conditions. Can you make a list of the words which help you understand how the children felt? Divide them into the follwoing categories:





2) Look at the second paragraph (from « The evening arrived » to « commons »).

What main differences can you notice between the children and the master? Reflect particularly on how the Master dresses and on the distance between him and the children.

3) “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery”. What adjectives could you employ to define the feelings expressed by Dicken’s description of Oliver in this passage?

4) “Please, sir, I want some more”. This is what Oliver asks to the master and divides the scene into two blocks: ‘before’ and ‘after’ the request. Why? Can you notice any difference between the two parts?

5) How can you define Oliver’s request? Do you think he has been brave? Find adjectives to define what he did.

6) Describe the Master’s reaction. Why is he so surprised?

7) How does he threatens Oliver?


1) Charles Dickens describes, here, the conditions of children in orphanages, which were particularly cruel in 19th century Britain. Trying to remember what you have learnt about the contradictions of the Victorian period, can you notice any stark contrast between the children’s and the master’s lives? Can you think of any parallelisms between them and more general issues of the time? (E.g.: idea of progress - industrialism, colonial expansion - and main social plagues of the time – slums, workhouses...). Write at least 130 words.

2) Re-write the story you read from the point of view of one of Oliver’s companions and says what he thinks and does, trying to think of a different ending.

3) Do you think that all children today live better than Oliver Twist and his companions?. Can you find parallelisms between Dickens’ world and yours? What should be done to change it, in your opinion?

4) Draw a portrait of Oliver Twist as a child, keeping in mind the story you read, and then of the same character as a man (or a young man). Then, tell how he managed to grow and change his life.



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