Friday, September 30, 2016

Reading Period 4: Sept 30 - October 6: Oliver Twist

Long Read:

Oliver Twist, chapters 1-5


"A Child's Hymn" by Charles Dickens

Creative Assignment:

For one day, eat only watery oatmeal (or grits or something else bland you can eat), an onion, and two ounces (about one bagel) of bread. Take pictures and write a short (250 words) memoir about the experience. Even though this is a creative memoir, think about the structure of your writing. Pretend your audience knows nothing of your diet experiment or why you are doing it, so you'll need to explain it and connect it to the book. Talk in your memoir about how you felt at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, the next day when you were able to eat different food, etc.


The poem for this week is both a prayer and a song. Set the words "A Child's Hymn" to music, and either play it on your instrument in a video, sing it in a video, or provide us sheet music to read.

Writing Assignment:

I'm quite serious. No, really. Totally serious.
Much of Oliver Twist is written in a satirical tone. For example, Mrs. Mann is called "his benevolent protectress." The narrator exclaims, "What a noble illustration of the tender laws of England! They let the paupers go to sleep!" Write an essay in which you praise something satirically, meaning that you really are mocking or attacking it. You could choose a food that you don't like to eat, a school subject you despise, a book you didn't enjoy, a chore you hate doing, etc. For example, you could write an essay praising the cleaning of toilets, in which we come to understand how much you hate cleaning toilets. You could write an essay expounding on the glories of broccoli, which shows us how much you despise it. Make sure you have read the first few chapters of Oliver Twist before you try this out. Your essay should be at least 200 words.


Put yourself in the world of the novel, and write a letter to the board of the workhouse in which you demand changes to the situation of the paupers and orphans. Use specific examples from Oliver Twist as if it is real life and these things really happened. Your essay should be at least 200 words.


1. What do we know of Oliver's mother, from chapter 1?
2. Give two examples of the author being sarcastic or satirical in chapter 2. You'll find he starts out right in the first paragraph.
3. Why has Mr. Bumble come to get Oliver Twist from Mrs. Mann's house and where is he going?
4. What crime lands Oliver in solitary confinement?
5. Why does the gentleman with the white waistcoat think that Mr. Gamfield is the perfect master for Oliver?
6. Why does Oliver NOT end up indentured to the chimney sweep?
7. What is Mr. Sowerberry's job?
8. What does Mrs. Sowerberry give Oliver to eat on his first night with them?
9. Why does Noah Claypole look down on Oliver and what name does he call Oliver?
10. Give a quote to show that the part of town Mr. Sowerberry and Oliver visit to measure the corpse is very run down and poor.

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