How does Oliver Twist get his name?

3 Answers

robertwilliam's profile pic

robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Oliver Twist is given his name by Mr Bumble, the prosaic beadle at the workhouse according to an alphabetical system. What it emphasises is the insignificance of Oliver within a long list of other insignificant (notably nameless in the novel!) workhouse boys.

Don't forget too that the concept of a "Twist" might well be seen to represent the many twists and turns of the plot of Dickens' novel: one often cited as an example of Dickens' preference for a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter!

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Oliver Twist was named according to an alphabetical system used to name orphans but the name is actually a play on words. Oliver Twist is, in fact, "all of a twist". Although born in a poorhouse, he really has an aristocratic background that is revealed at the end of the novel. But despite all the hardships he faces, he remains very kind-hearted, an unusual "twist" on the hard luck stories of many children who came out of the poorhouse system.

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thanuja2010 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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mr bumble named oliver as orphans in workhouse was named in alphabetical order. the last one was a s.swabble, then oliver was t.twist.