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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist, Usborne Young Reading version is retold nicely for younger children.

1. In what country or region does this story happen? (setting) England. Chapter 4

mentions him running away to London, England.

2. Among what kinds of people is the story set? What is their economic class?

(setting) The very poor, and working class.

3. Does the story happen in a particular era? The Industrial Revolution in England.

4. The protagonist is the main character. What is his name? (characters) Oliver

Twist. Can you name some other characters in the story?

5. What is Oliver trying to do? (theme) Answers may include: Overcome Find happiness. Gain his freedom. Have a good/decent life. Survive.


Survival Man vs. Man

Will Oliver survive the terrible circumstances that we find him in?

Loyalty Man vs. Himself

Will Mr. Brownlow (Oliver’s uncle) ignore his duty of family?

Choice Man vs. Himself

Will Oliver make decisions that are right? Or, will he become a thief?

6. Is this conflict (what Oliver is trying to overcome) an external one having to do with

circumstances in Oliver’s world? Or, an internal one taking place in his mind? (conflict) Both. See above themes. Discuss them.

7. Is God, or fate helping Oliver? Talk about the possibilities. Is Mr. Brownlow being

the target of the pick-pocketing a coincidence? How does this play out in Oliver’s favor

later on in the story? Various answers.

8. Are there other characters that do or do not understand Oliver’s motives? (rising

© 2011, Brenda Sain,

action) The coffin maker, Noah, Dodger, Fagin etc story to talk about what happend before the climax.

Use some examples from the

9. How are Oliver’s obstacles finally overcome? Were they pleasant or were they

resolved in a terrible way? (climax) Nancy is Shot. Mr. Brownlow was waiting for him.

10. What “loose ends” were tied up? (denouement) Bill slipped on a roof and hung

himself by accident. The dog hit his head and died.

11. What does Oliver learn about the locket? (conclusion) That it belonged to his

mother, Agnus. And, that Mr. Brownlow is a relative.

Another question for older children:

What aspect of the human condition is brought to light and wondered at in this story? Answers may include: greed, necessity, loyalty, innocence, choice, survival. Talk about these.

Literary devices to find in Oliver Twist:

Alliteration Find examples of where the author used words in sequence or in close proximity which have the same initial consonant sounds.

Simile Find examples of the author using “like” or “as” in making comparisons between two or more dissimilar things.

© 2011, Brenda Sain,

Terms to know:

Alliteration - Words in sequence or in close proximity which have the same initial consonant sounds.

Assonance - Words in sequence or in close proximity which have the same internal vowel sounds.

Consonance - Words in sequence or in close proximity which end with the same consonant sounds.

Simile - The use of “like” or “as” in making comparisons between two or more dissimilar things.


Underline words with the same initial consonant sounds in each sentence. Circle the words like or as when comparing two or more dissimilar things. Write on the line which literary device was used.

1. “They returned to their tables to eat their food, packed on benches as tight as sardines, though not so plump.”

2. “The young mother’s whisper was as soft as the swirling snow


3. “Mr. Bumble swelled like an evil giant.”

4. “In the dark, sooty cellar, cobwebs stroked Oliver’s face like creepy


© 2011, Brenda Sain,

Start a collection of Simile Cards

Each time you find a simile that you like and may want to use in your own writing, make a card. Draw a picture on the back of your card, too!







© 2011, Brenda Sain,

Dear Moms, If you want to use this book as a part of a unit study, several ideas for a unit study might include: The life and times of Queen Victoria, an exploration of Charles Dickens’ novels, or England during the Industrial Revolution. We have used all of the following resources that I can personally recommend. Keep in mind, I have children ages 3 - 14 at the time of writing this, so there should be something for everyone!

In the Days of Queen Victoria by Eva March Tappan

The Victorian House Dover coloring book

David Copperfield, children’s version by Jennifer Bassett

A Christmas Carol, children’s version by Stephen Krensky

Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England, Kristine Hughes Victoria and Her Court, Virginia Schomp The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage You Wouldn’t Want to be a Victorian Servant, Fiona MacDonald Movies: 1948 version of Oliver Twist,The Young Victoria made in 2010, Victoria and Albert A&E

Always learning, Brenda

© 2011, Brenda Sain,

© 2011, Brenda Sain,

© 2011, Brenda Sain,

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