Friday, October 14, 2016

Reading Period 6: October 14-20: Oliver Twist

Long Read:

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, chapters 15-30


Holy Thursday (Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean)
Holy Thursday (Is this a holy thing to see)

Creative Assignments:

Pretend you are a reporter. You were tipped off by the police that a robbery has occurred outside Write a newspaper article reporting on the robbery at a house outside Chertsey. You go to the house and interview Mr. Giles, Brittles, Mrs. Maylie, and Rose. Write an article reporting this news, including correctly-punctuated quotes from all four of the interviews. Only use information in the article that the characters are willing to tell you.


William Blake was a Victorian poet who, like Charles Dickens, believed that part of his job as a writer was exposing and discussing the unfairness of poverty and the fate of English poor children. He wrote two poems called "Holy Thursday" and this pair of poems shows two views of the poor children who come to church during Holy Week. For your assignment, create two illustrations, one for each of these poems. You must use unlined paper, and color, and include details from the poems. The illustrations should reflect the contrasting moods of the two works. You don't have to include the text of the poem in your illustration, but just so you can see how Blake was thinking about it, here are his illustrations of his own works:

Writing Assignment:

Are people basically good, trying to do what's right and be kind to each other? Or are people basically bad, only doing the right thing when they have to, or when it serves their own interest, and other times doing whatever is best for themselves? For this assignment, you must pick a side and argue that position, using characters from Oliver Twist as examples. It's absolutely possible to choose either side of the argument and effectively make your point, depending on which characters you bring up. In class on Tuesday we will work on an outline for this essay, and you'll turn in a first draft, along with the outline, on Thursday.


1. What was the criminals' first clue as to Oliver's whereabouts? This answer comes toward the end of chapter 16.
2. Paraphrase the first paragraph of chapter 17. In just one sentence, what is Dickens telling us here?
3. Give a specific detail from the book that shows the state of the house that Oliver is staying in with Fagin.
4. Paraphrase the following: "If you don't take fogles and tickers, some other cove will; so that the coves that lose 'em will be all the worse, and you'll be all the worse too, and nobody half a ha'p'orth the better, except the chaps wot gets them -- and you've just as good a right to them as they have."
5. Why is Oliver perfect for Bill Sikes' plan to get into the house he wants to rob?
6. What does Bill Sikes threaten Oliver with, if he talks?
7. What is Oliver supposed to do, to help with the robbery?
8. What is the purpose of Mr. Bumble's visit to Mrs. Corney?
9. Who is the old woman who almost tells a secret before she dies in chapter 24? What is her connection to Oliver?
10. What does Toby Crackit report to Fagin about Oliver?
11. Why does Nancy hope that Oliver is dead?
12. Why do Noah and Charlotte get in trouble with Mr. Bumble?
13. To what house does Oliver go for help, when he wakes up?
14. Who shot Oliver?
15. What does the doctor ask Mr. Giles and Brittles to do, at the end of chapter 30? And do they do it?

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