Oliver Twist This is perhaps the most well-loved story by Charles Dickens. Dickens asked his readers to ‘have a heart that never gets hard’. As readers follow the life of Oliver Twist, a poor orphaned boy struggling against the dangers of life in 19th-century London, they can empathise with his childhood in a workhouse and his life with a gang of pickpockets. They can also share his relief that there were some good people, ready and willing to rescue a child in need.
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Young ELI Readers
Knowing the past
Twist Illustrated by Gustavo Mazali
- Games and language activities - An audio recording of the story and the songs - A picture dictionary Tags Social issues
Eli Readers is a beautifully illustrated series of timeless classics and specially-written stories for learners of English.
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INTRODUCTION 2 Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist nearly two
hundred years ago. Life was very difficult for poor children, and there were many poor children! Very poor people lived in special houses called workhouses, where families couldn’t be together and they had very little to eat. There wasn’t much difference between a workhouse and a prison! WHO WAS CHARLES DICKENS? When Charles Dickens was a child, his father was put in prison. He left school and worked in a factory to help his family. When his father left prison, Charles Dickens went back to school but he never forgot that difficult time. Charles Dickens was a kind man and he wanted people to know about the terrible life of poor people. Here is a message from Charles Dickens: ‘Have a heart that never gets hard.’
3 MEET THE CHARACTERS IN THE STORY
Oliver Twist: The hero of the story
Mr Bumble: The unfriendly head of the workhouse
Bill Sykes: Fagin’s dangerous friend
Mr Brownlow: A kind man from London
The Artful Dodger: A boy in Fagin’s gang. He got his name because he is the best thief!
Fagin: The horrible head of the gang of child thieves
Nancy: A girl in Fagin’s gang
Rose: A kind young woman from the countryside
Mr Monks: A man who knows about Oliver Twist’s past
CHAPTER 1: Oliver Twistâ€™s early life
4 Oliver Twist was an orphan. He had no mother
or father but grew up in a workhouse with other poor children. They were always cold and hungry. One day, the children were eating a small bowl of watery soup in the dining room.
Mr Bumble, the head of the workhouse, was putting away the extra soup when Oliver Twist said, ‘Please, sir. I want some more...’ Mr Bumble couldn’t believe his ears. ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY?’ he shouted and began to hit Oliver with a big soup spoon.
5 Mr Bumble was so angry that the next day he
sent Oliver to work for an undertaker. Oliver was only 10 years old but he had to work hard. There was an older boy who worked there too, but he was unkind. Oliver was very unhappy! One morning, Oliver decided to run away and go to London. He thought, â€˜No one, not even Mr Bumble, will find me in London!â€™ He started walking.
6 One day he saw a boy. He was whistling and
he looked very funny! He was wearing a man’s hat and a coat that came nearly to his feet! The boy smiled at him and said, ‘You can call me the Artful Dodger. If you want to have dinner and sleep in a nice bed, come with me.’ Oliver wanted both those things so he followed him.
CHAPTER 2: Oliver in London
7 The Artful Dodger took Oliver to a dirty room in
London. There, he met an old man called Fagin, with red hair and a red moustache and beard. He was dirty too, but he smiled at Oliver and said, â€˜Welcome, little boy, to our happy home!â€™
Activity Pages 1 Think. Discuss with a partner. 1 Why did Charles Dickens write about poor people? 2 What does his message on page 2 mean? 3 How is your life different from Oliver Twist’s? 2 Read the character descriptions on page 3 and write the names in pencil. As you read, you can change the names from one list to the other. Good characters _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________
Bad characters _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________
3 Write the names and match the people to what they are thinking.
‘We must get him back!’
‘It wasn’t him!’
‘Oh no! The Artful Dodger is a thief!’
‘He’s a thief!’
Choose the right verbs to complete Oliver Twist’s song and write them in the past form. Then, listen to the song and check. want • choose • take • go • catch • say • decide can • need • push • tell • hear • look for
Bill Sykes 1 ___________ to steal in a house. Oh no! Oh no! Bill Sykes 2 ___________ to steal in a house. Oh no! Oh no! He 3 ___________ the smallest boy He 4 ___________ find. Oliver 5 ___________, ‘Please, not me! Be kind!’ But Bill Sykes 6 ___________ him, 7 ___________ him to steal in the house. Oliver Twist 8 ___________ through the window. Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Oliver Twist 9 ___________ through the window. Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! He 10 ___________ through the window To steal in the house. Bill Sykes 11 ___________ him, ‘Be as quiet as a mouse!’ But a man 12 ___________ Oliver, 13 ___________ Oliver in the house.
5 Think and discuss with a partner. 1 Who went to prison? Why? 2 Who had a happy life? Why? 29