Oliver Twist Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Describe Oliver Twist as a child and as an orphan.

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Born in a public workhouse of a destitute mother, it was uncertain whether Oliver Twist, whose mother nearly dies in childbirth, would survive.  In his description, the humor of Dickens evidences itself in the fourth paragraph of the novel after Dickens narrates that poor Oliver lay struggling for breath on an old mattress:

Now, if during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses and doctors of profound wisdom, he most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time.

When the little Oliver makes it safely into life, the doctor hands the baby to his mother, who kisses him, and dies.  For the next year, Oliver is "brought up by hand" in a "systematic  course of treachery and deception as the parish authorities "farmed out" the orphans.  An elderly woman in charge of the orphans kept a large percentage of the money the children made, and fed them with the rest.  So, Oliver was underfed and rarely had a bath:

Hunger and...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 579 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

kapokkid eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,387 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial