Oliver Asks for More Summary, Theme by Charles Dickens
Oliver Asks for More Summary
In this excerpt, “Oliver asks for more”, Dickens portrays the life of a small boy named Oliver Twist, at a workhouse. Oliver’s mother had died at his birth therefore he was an orphan. He was sent to a workhouse where he was living his life along with other children. As he was new to the work house, he did not know the rules properly and because of that he had to face a few difficulties.
The condition of the workhouse was also not good. There, the children were treated harshly. When Oliver was ordered to be presented before the board, Mr Bumble accompanied him to put him in front of the board members. Oliver did not have any idea about a board meeting. Therefore was astonished and didn’t understand what to do. He didn’t have the time to even think about the matter Bumble directed him to a large white washed room, where a group of fat gentlemen were sitting round a table.
He noticed a person who was sitting in an armchair rather higher than the rest. “Bow to the board” was the order delivered by Bumble. Nothing seeing a board but a table, Oliver was not certain to do anything When Bumble gave him a tap with a cane, tears rolled down his cheeks but he had to bow before the board. The board enquired the boy, and was surprised by his replies. The board finally punished him telling to pick oakum daily at 6 in the morning.
Then Bumble took Oliver to a large ward, where he was made to sleep on a hard, rough bed. Poor Oliver sobbed himself to sleep, being unknown to the things that were happening around him. The board decided to treat the children more harshly. According to them, people used to leave children there for free food and no work.
So they decided to cut their expenses by giving the children three meals of thin gruel a day and with an onion twice a week. The aim was that poor classes should die quickly starving outside the house, or starve gradually inside the house. As the rule was passed, the number of inmates got smaller.
The system was in full operation. The inmates who remained, got shrunk in size. The boys would be given a thin gruel, which would leave them hungry. The bowls they were served never required washing as the boys used to suck all the gruel that were stuck there on. The place where they were served was a large stone hall. It had a copper bowl at one end. There was a master, dressed in apron for the purpose of dining, and one or two women would serve the gruel at the meals.
The boys would sit watching the copper bowl and wonder if they could devour the big bowl. The companions and Oliver suffered the tortures of starvation for months and finally a red eyed boy who was tall for his age, warned everyone that he was very hungry so if he won’t get another bowl of gruel, he would eat up the boy who would sleep beside him at night. The boys were very afraid. The meeting was held to decide who would ask for more. Poor Oliver was chosen for it.
The boys were served with gruel and as usual, the gruel disappeared in seconds. Now everyone was calling Oliver with eyes. He gained courage and went to the master and asked him for more food. The master threw the ladle at Oliver. He was shocked by the small rebel.
He informed this incident to the board and the board gave him a strict punishment. Oliver was ordered an instant confinement and a bill was pasted on the outside of the gate offering a reward of five pounds to anyone who would take Oliver Twist off their hands. The authority just wanted to get rid of Oliver as soon as possible.
Oliver Asks for More About the Author Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth. The city is in Hampshire, England. His father, John Dickens was a clerk in a payroll office of the navy. His mother, Elizabeth (Barrow) Dickens was an inspiration for Dickens for his creation of Mrs. Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby and Mrs. Micawber in David Copperfield. In 1824, when he was 12 the family sent Charles to work in a shoe-polish factory. Charles was deeply marked by these experiences. He rarely spoke of that time of his life.
After three years he returned to school before he started his literary career. To start with, be became a journalist. He edited a weekly journal over a long period of time, wrote non-fiction articles, short stories, novellas and also lectured and performed reading. In 1829 he changed careers and became a court stenographer. To qualify for that position Dickens had to leam the Gurney system of shorthand writing.
In 1833 he began contributing stories and descriptive essays to magazines and newspapers; these attracted attention and were reprinted as Sketche by “Boz” (February 1836). The same month, he was invited to provide a comic serial narrative to accompany engravings by a well-known artist; seven weeks later the first installment of The Pickwick Papers appeared.
Within a few months The Pickwick Papers became famous and Dickens became the most popular author of the day. His other famous works include-Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit and many more. However, at the age of 58, this famous personality died on 9 Junel870 at Higham, Kent in England.
Oliver Asks for More Theme
‘Oliver asks for more’, an excerpt from “Oliver Twist” written by Charles Dickens offers a close-up look at the suffering of the poorer classes in the 19th century, due to industrialisation. Dickens uses a mixture of shocking realism and biting satire to create that. The story shows the scenario of a workhouse where children from poorer sections reside. The environment of the workhouse is unhealthy and unhygienic and here, children stay tolerating much suffering. Oliver too is one of them.
He is an orphan therefore he is spending his childhood in that stuffy atmosphere. He is not taken care of, not even is given proper food. The children remain hungry and miserable. Once Oliver, to satisfy his companion’s need to have some more gruel, asks the master for a bit more. At this, the master becomes angry and hits Oliver with a ladle.
He also complains about him to the board and the board hearing this, orders punishment, Thus Oliver is ordered an instant confinement and a bill is to be pasted on the outside of the gate offering a reward of five pounds to anyone who would take Oliver Twist off their hands. The story ends here leaving a question in the readers’ mind about Oliver’s uncertain future.
Oliver Asks for More Characters
Oliver Twist :
The little boy Oliver is the protagonist of the story. He is an orphan and as he has no one to look after, he spends his childhood at a workhouse. He is an innocent boy who does not know the rules of the workhouse. To the board members, he is a ‘fool’. Like the other children, he too belongs to a poor class therefore he is treated badly at the workhouse.
Though he looks like a timid and naive little boy, yet he has the courage to ask for some more food to the person who was serving the thin gruel which is not at all sufficient to satisfy hunger. Though he has to face punishment for raising his voice, yet this striking feature acts as the turning point of the story.
Mr Bumble :
Mr Bumble plays the role of a cruel and pompous beadle of the workhouse where orphaned boy Oliver was spending his childhood. He is completely dominated by Mrs Comey, his wife. Just like other children Oliver was also monitored by him and he accompanied him to the board and witnessed his punishment. He was a self-centred person who cared more for himself than any other person in the world.
The Master :
He is a fat and healthy man who serves food to the boys at the workhouse. He gives a small amount of thin gruel with an occasional onion to them as meal. When Oliver asks for more gruel, he becomes angry and hits his head with the ladle.
Mr Limbkins :
He is the board member of the workhouse to whom Mr Bumble reports for Oliver’s “mistake”. Hearing this, he orders for Oliver’s punishment and also gives a premonition of Oliver being hung, however which does not become true.
Oliver Asks for More Title of the Story
Little boy Oliver Twist resides in a parish workhouse where the inmates are fed with three meals of thin gruel a day with an onion twice a week. This workhouse is run by the board members of the workhouse that include Mr Limbkins and Mr Bumble the Beadle. Oliver, along with the others boys are fed in a large stony hall with a copper bowl at one end.
During mealtime, the master serves a small amount of thin gruel which is not at all sufficient to satisfy hunger. Their food-basins never get washed therefore the boys have to polish them with their spoon till they shine again. They always remain very much hungry, so hungry that they could have devoured almost anything. They even lick their fingers assiduously so that not a drop of gruel remains. Oliver Twist and his companions suffer these tortures of slow starvation for three months. But they could not bear more.
One of them, being so voracious and wild with hunger hints darkly to his fellows that unless he is given another basin of gruel, he might eat the boy who would sleep next to him. It seems that he is telling the truth. Therefore the duty falls upon Oliver to get some more food. So, when the master comes again to serve meal, he asks for more food and seeing such courage, the master reports this ‘crime’ to the board. The board members become awestruck and orders an instant confinement.
A bill is also to be pasted on the outside of the gate offering a reward of five pounds to anyone who would take Oliver Twist off their hands. Therefore it is clear, that the board members just want to get rid of little Oliver as soon as possible. So this whole episode takes place because Oliver just asked for more food. If he has not done so, he might not get any punishment at the workhouse. Therefore, the title of the story is apt.
Oliver Asks for More Setting of the Story
In the short story “Oliver asks for more” we can see an orphan boy Oliver and his suffering at the workhouse. The story is set at the workhouse where the environment was not at all healthy. There were children like Oliver who belonged to the poorer classes and had nowhere else to go. The authority of this place used to think that these poor kids were left there for free food and no work.
So they decided to cut short their expenses by serving them thin gruel everyday with an onion occasionally. This made the children very hungry and Oliver too was no exception. His childhood was stuck in that stuffy workhouse where he had to live a life of compromise. One day Oliver asked for some more food and this made the authority mad with anger.
They decided to punish him by giving an order of an instant confinement and a bill was pasted on the outside of the gate offering a reward of five pounds to anyone who would take Oliver Twist off their hands. So the whole scenario of the story, from the beginning to the end, centred around the workhouse and its inmates with a deep impression on Oliver. This made the story reflect its very theme.
Oliver Asks for More Main Points to Remember
- Oliver Twist was a orphan therefore as a child, he was staying at a workhouse.
- Mr Bumble took Oliver with him to appear before the board and as Oliver was a kid, he did not know what a board actually was.
- Seeing those people in the boardroom made Oliver frightened and tensed.
- As Oliver was an orphan and there was no one to ask about him, he was treated badly at the workhouse.
- Not only Oliver but also the other poor boys were treated the same. They were not given proper food, proper rest and proper care.
- Once, to satisfy his companion’s need for more food, little Oliver, himself hungry, asked for more food. At this, the authority got furious and so he was ordered an instant confinement.
- It was feared that Oliver will be hung for this mistake of wanting more food. However, a bill was issued that was pasted at the outside of the gate where Oliver was confined. The bill offered a reward for whom who would take Oliver with him or her. The story ends here leaving a curiosity in the readers’ mind about the uncertain future of Oliver.
Oliver Asks for More Annotations and Vocabulary
Firmly — securely
Forthwith — without any delay
Astonished — awestruck
Tremble — To shake in fear
Stammered — to make stops and repetitions in speaking
Beadle — an official of the church
Parish — a church committee
Oakum — loosely twisted hemp or jute fibre impregnated with tar
Surly — serious or angry
Gruel — a thin porridge
Devoured — to eat up greedily or ravenously
Appetite — hunger
Voracious –insatiable hunger
Paralyzed –became motionless or still
Ladle — a deep-bowled long handled spoon
Countenance — mental composure
Instant — immediate
Confinement — an act of confining
Apprentice — one bound by indenture