Tasks for the excerpt from Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist".
Writing Task: Point of View
- Watch this short video (2:29 min.) explaining some of the most common ways to narrate a story.
- Go back to the excerpt from "Oliver Twist" and find out what kind of narrator is used in this text.
- Oliver Twist was actually the first child protagonist (main character) in an English novel. Rewrite the scene at the workhouse where Oliver asks for more food, using a first-person narrative. This means that you will have to put yourself in Oliver's shoes and describe the environment and events around him from the perspective and language of a nine-year-old boy.
Character comparison: Oliver Twist vs. Harry Potter
Perhaps one of the most iconic young protagonists of modern day literature is J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter. Start off with a page divided into two columns, then try to think of similarities between the two characters. Consider things such as their background, upbringing and personality.
After completing the comparison, discuss the following statement: "Looking for a recipe for success? Try: poverty-stricken orphan with a charismatic sidekick, battles society and against the odds gains fame and fortune."
Dig deeper: Charles Dickens and Social Criticism
"Dickens succeeded in making Victorian public opinion more aware of the conditions of the poor. He depicted persuasively the disorder, squalor, blight, decay, and the human misery of a modern industrial city." (Source: The Victorian Web)
Select five direct quotations from the excerpt of "Oliver Twist" that support this statement. After each quotation, add a comment that explains why or how Dickens is criticising his contemporary society.