Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, extras, MCQs, and pdf of the story Oliver Asks for More by Charles Dickens which is part of ICSE Class 9 English (Treasure Chest) syllabus. However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
In a small town in England, there was a place called a workhouse. It was for people who had no home or money. This is where Oliver Twist was born. His mom was young and no one really knew where she came from. They found her in the streets, and she looked like she’d walked a lot because her shoes were really worn out. After she had Oliver, she got to see and kiss him. But then she got really sick and died. The doctor noticed she didn’t have a wedding ring, which meant she probably wasn’t married. Oliver was left alone in the world because no one knew anything about his family.
Mr. Bumble, a town officer, named the baby Oliver Twist. He said they gave names in alphabetical order at the workhouse, and it was Oliver’s turn for a name starting with ‘T’.
Growing up there was tough. By the time Oliver was nine, he was skinny and weak. The kids there didn’t have nice clothes and didn’t get much to eat. They had soup three times a day and a bit of bread once a week. They all ate together in a big room. They each got one bowl of soup, and they made sure to eat every last drop.
One day, Oliver and his friends were really hungry. They came up with a plan to ask for more soup after dinner. Oliver was the one who had to ask. When he did, everyone was super surprised. The head of the workhouse, a big man, was so mad that he hit Oliver with a spoon. Mr. Bumble was also really angry. Oliver had to stay in a dark room for a week and Mr. Bumble would sometimes hit him.
Soon, they put up a sign outside saying they’d give five pounds to anyone who’d take Oliver. Mr. Bumble talked to Mr. Sowerberry, who made coffins for people who died in the workhouse. He showed him the sign, hinting that maybe Sowerberry could take Oliver.
About the author
Charles Dickens, who lived from 1812 to 1870, was a famous English author known for his critiques on society. Many consider him the best writer of the Victorian period.
In one of his famous scenes from “Oliver Twist,” the young orphan Oliver and his friends were treated really badly and didn’t get enough to eat in the workhouse. Once, a really hungry boy even said he’d eat his friend if they didn’t get more food. So, the kids decided that Oliver should be the one to ask for extra food.
Later on, Oliver became an apprentice to a funeral director. Through this story, Dickens highlights the tough lives of orphans in London during the 1800s, a time when there were many factories and a lot of poor people in England.
The story is somewhat based on Dickens’ own tough childhood. But even with the sad parts, Dickens made sure to show that Oliver was kind and caring.
Text-Based Multiple Choice Questions
(i) Where was Oliver Twist born?
Answer: b. in the workhouse
(ii) Oliver’s mother pressed her cold lips to his face and then ________
Answer: c. fell back and died
(iii) The doctor raised the dead woman’s left hand and commented that she had no ring on her finger. What does this mean?
Answer: c. she wasn’t married
(iv) To the orphan boy the name Oliver Twist was given by ___________
Answer: d. Mr Bumble
(v) The bowls in which soup was served to workhouse boys never needed washing. Why?
Answer: c. the boys cleaned them with their spoons
(vi) When Oliver asked for more soup how did the master react?
Answer: b. he was utterly surprised
(vii) Oliver was shut up in a dark room. He remained a prisoner for ___________
Answer: a. a whole week
(viii) The soup disappeared quickly. Why?
Answer: c. the quantity was not enough
(ix) How much money was offered to the person who would take Oliver Twist?
Answer: b. five pounds
(x) What was the profession of Mr Sowerberry? He made
Answer: c. coffins
Among other buildings in a town in England, there was a house for poor people who had no money and nowhere to live. This was called the workhouse.
Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse. His mother, a young woman, lay ill in bed. A doctor and an old woman stood by her side. She lifted her head from the pillow.
‘Let me see the child and die’, she said.
(i) Who lived in the workhouse?
Answer: The workhouse was a place for poor people who had no money or home to live in. Destitute people who had nowhere else to go lived in the workhouse.
(ii) How were the babies born in work house named?
Answer: Babies born in the workhouse were named in alphabetical order from A to Z by the workhouse authorities. The last baby was named Swubble, so Oliver was given the next alphabet name Twist.
(iii) Who were present in the room where Oliver was born?
Answer: When Oliver was born, a doctor and an old woman were present in the room with his mother. They stood by her bedside as she gave birth.
(iv) The baby’s mother wished for two things. What were they?
Answer: Oliver’s mother was very weak and on the verge of death after giving birth. Her two dying wishes were to see her newborn baby and pass away peacefully.
(v) How did the doctor react to one of the wishes?
Answer: When Oliver’s mother expressed her wish to die after seeing her child, the doctor tried to dissuade her from thinking about death. He gently told her she was too young to die, attempting to give her hope.
The doctor put the child in her arms. She pressed her cold white lips to its face, and then fell back.
‘She is dead’, said the doctor.
‘Yes, poor dear, said the old woman, as she took the child away from its dead mother. ‘Poor dear.’
‘She was a good-looking girl,’ said the doctor, as he put on his hat and gloves.
‘Where did she come from?’
‘She was brought here last night,’ said the old woman.
‘She was lying in the street. She had walked a long way and her shoes had holes in them. Nobody knows where she came from, or where she was going to.”
(i) Who is ‘she’ referred to in the first line? What wish had she expressed earlier?
Answer: ‘She’ refers to Oliver’s mother. Earlier, right after giving birth, she had expressed the wish to see her baby and then die peacefully.
(ii) After kissing the baby the woman fell back. What happened to her? What do the words ‘Poor dear’ indicate?
Answer: After Oliver’s mother kissed her newborn baby, she fell back limply onto her pillow and died. The old woman’s words “Poor dear” indicate that she felt sympathy and sadness for Oliver’s young mother who had passed away.
(iii) What was the doctor told about the baby’s mother?
Answer: The old woman informed the doctor that Oliver’s mother had been found lying in the street the night before. She had walked a long distance and her shoes were worn out with holes. No one knew where she had come from or where she was going.
(iv) Looking at the dead woman’s ringless hand what did the doctor conclude?
Answer: Seeing no wedding ring on the dead woman’s hand, the doctor concluded she was unmarried and had given birth out of wedlock. In those times, having a child without being married was seen as shameful.
(v) What did the old woman do when the doctor had gone home for dinner?
Answer: After the doctor left, the old woman began dressing the orphaned baby in old clothes typically used for babies born in the workhouse.
No one was able to discover who the baby’s father was, or what his mother’s name was. Mr Bumble, an important officer in the town, invented a name for the baby. He chose the name Oliver Twist.
We name the new babies here in order from A to Z,’ he explained when people asked. ‘I named the last one Swubble. This one is Twist. The next one will be Unwin’. At the age of nine, Oliver was a pale, thin child. He and the other workhouse boys never had enough warm clothes or food. They were given only three meals of thin soup every day. On Sundays they had a small piece of bread.
(i) What were the organisers of the workhouse not able to find out?
Answer: The people running the workhouse could not find out who the baby’s father was or what his dead mother’s name was. His parentage was unknown.
(ii) Who was Mr Bumble? What did he do for the baby?
Answer: Mr. Bumble was an important officer who worked at the workhouse. Since the baby was orphaned with no known name, Mr. Bumble named him Oliver Twist.
(iii) Who are ‘we’ mentioned in the passage? How did ‘we’ name new babies?
Answer: ‘We’ refers to Mr. Bumble and the other workhouse authorities who named orphaned babies. They named babies in alphabetical order starting from A.
(iv) How did Oliver look at the age of nine? Why did he look thin and pale?
Answer: At age nine, Oliver was a thin, pale child. This was because he and the other workhouse boys were underfed and not given enough nutritious food or warm clothes. Their living conditions were harsh.
(v) What was the usual food of workhouse boys? What special thing was given to them on Sundays?
Answer: The workhouse boys usually only got three meals of thin soup per day. On Sundays, they received a small piece of bread as a special treat. The food was very meager.
The master hit Oliver with his spoon, then seized him and cried for help. Mr Bumble rushed into the room, and the master told him what Oliver had said.
‘He asked for more?’ Mr Bumble cried. He cannot believe it. One day they will hang the boy.’
He took Oliver away and shut him in a dark room. The next morning a notice appeared on the workhouse gate. Five pounds were offered to anybody who would take Oliver Twist.
(i) Why did the master hit Oliver with his spoon?
Answer: Oliver had politely asked for more gruel because the portions were extremely small. This outraged the master who then hit Oliver with his spoon and called for help to punish him for asking for more food.
(ii) Whom did he call for help? What did that person do?
Answer: The master called for Mr. Bumble, another workhouse official, to help him discipline Oliver. Mr. Bumble came in and took Oliver away, locking him in a dark room all alone.
(iii) “He asked for more?” In which tone is this sentence spoken? Why?
Answer: Mr. Bumble speaks this sentence in a shocked, disbelieving tone. Asking for more food was seen as outrageous in the miserly workhouse where children were given tiny portions.
(iv) What did the notice on the gate of the workhouse say?
Answer: The notice offered five pounds to anyone willing to take Oliver Twist off the workhouse’s hands by adopting him as an apprentice. They wanted to get rid of Oliver after his request for more food.
(v) What impression do you form of the working of the workhouse?
Answer: The workhouse treated orphan children very harshly, underfeeding them and then punishing them cruelly if they asked for more sustenance. The officials acted without compassion for the suffering children under their care.
The usual story,’ he said. ‘I see that she has no ring on her finger. She wasn’t married. Good night!’
He went home to his dinner. The old woman sat down on a chair in front of the fire and began to dress the baby. She dressed him in the very old clothes used for babies who were born in the workhouse. The child was an orphan, born into a world which had no love or pity for him.
(i) Who is ‘he’ referred to in the first line?
Answer: ‘He’ refers to the doctor who was present for Oliver’s birth and examined his dead mother’s body.
(ii) What does the absence of a ring on the finger show?
Answer: The lack of a wedding ring on the dead woman’s finger indicated to the doctor that she was unmarried and had given birth out of wedlock.
(iii) When ‘he’ had gone home, what did the old woman do?
Answer: After the doctor left the workhouse, the old woman began dressing the orphaned Oliver in some old clothes typically used for babies born there.
(iv) The newly born baby was dressed in
Answer: Oliver was dressed in very old, worn clothes that were specifically kept at the workhouse for babies born there, since it was for the poor and destitute.
(v) What light does the last line throw on the society of that time?
Answer: The last line “The child was an orphan, born into a world which had no love or pity for him” highlights the cruelty of society at that time towards poor, parentless children like Oliver. There was no compassion for abandoned babies born in harsh conditions.
Oliver was a prisoner in that cold, dark room for a whole week. Every morning he was taken outside to wash, and Mr Bumble beat him with a stick. Then he was taken into the large hall where the boys had their soup. Mr Bumble beat him in front of everybody. He cried all day. When night came he tried to sleep, but he was cold, lonely and frightened.
But one day, outside the high workhouse gate, Mr Bumble met Mr Sowerberry. Mr Sowerberry was a tall, thin man who wore black clothes and made coffins. Many of his coffins were for the poor people who died in the workhouse.
(i) Why was Oliver put into prison?
Answer: Oliver was locked in a dark room like a prisoner for an entire week as punishment for boldly asking for more gruel at dinner.
(ii) Why did Mr Bumble beat Oliver in front of everybody?
Answer: Mr. Bumble beat Oliver with a stick in front of all the other workhouse boys in order to punish and humiliate him for having the audacity to request more food.
(iii) Why couldn’t Oliver sleep at night?
Answer: Oliver couldn’t sleep at night because the isolated room was cold and lonely, which frightened him. The harsh conditions made rest impossible.
(iv) How did Mr Sowerberry earn money for a living?
Answer: Mr. Sowerberry was an undertaker who made coffins for the dead. Many of his coffins were for the poor people who died in the workhouse.
(v) What information did Mr Sowerberry give to Mr Bumble?
Answer: Mr. Sowerberry informed Mr. Bumble that he had prepared coffins for two women who had died in the workhouse the previous night. This hints at the miserable conditions there.
Additional Questions and Answers
1. Where was Oliver Twist born?
Answer: Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse, which was a place where homeless and desperately poor people lived together in bleak, overcrowded conditions.
2. Who was present when Oliver was born?
Answer: A doctor and an elderly woman who worked at the workhouse were present for Oliver’s birth, to help deliver the baby and tend to his ailing mother.
3. How did the doctor react to Oliver’s mother’s wish to die?
Answer: The kind doctor tried to gently dissuade Oliver’s mother from speaking about or giving into death. He told her she was far too young to die and should have hope.
4. What happened to Oliver’s mother after she saw her newborn baby?
Answer: After finally being granted her wish to see her newborn son, Oliver’s mother tenderly kissed his face. Immediately after that fleeting moment of joy, she fell back onto her pillow and quietly passed away.
5. What did the old woman feel about Oliver’s mother’s death?
Answer: The elderly woman who helped deliver Oliver expressed deep sympathy and sadness about the death of Oliver’s young mother, repeatedly calling her “poor dear” as if she knew the woman had experienced great misfortune in life.
6. What details did the old woman give about how Oliver’s mother was found?
Answer: The old woman described that Oliver’s mother had been found almost lifeless in the street the night before, having apparently walked a very long distance in shoes that were tattered and worn with holes. Nobody knew where exactly she had come from or where she was headed in that state.
7. What did the doctor conclude about Oliver’s mother from her missing ring?
Answer: Noticing the lack of a wedding ring on the deceased woman’s left hand, the doctor concluded she had given birth out of wedlock, which at the time was seen as deeply shameful and would stigmatize poor Oliver.
8. What did the old woman do after the doctor left?
Answer: After the doctor departed, the old woman began carefully and gently dressing little orphaned Oliver in worn, secondhand clothes that were normally used for babies born into destitution at the workhouse.
9. Who named the orphaned baby Oliver Twist?
Answer: Oliver was given his name by Mr. Bumble, a prominent official who worked at the workhouse and took it upon himself to name parentless babies as he saw fit.
10. How were babies at the workhouse named?
Answer: Babies born to unknown or deceased parents at the workhouse were named alphabetically, in order from A to Z. Oliver was given the name Twist as he followed another baby named Swubble in the alphabet.
11. How did Oliver look at age nine? Why?
Answer: At age nine, Oliver was incredibly thin and pale, almost malnourished-looking, because he and the other young workhouse boys were chronically underfed, not given enough nutritious food for proper growth and development.
12. What food were the workhouse boys given?
Answer: The boys at the workhouse were provided only very meager, watery soup at mealtimes – just three bowls per day of thin gruel along with a small piece of bread one day a week on Sundays.
13. Why didn’t the soup bowls need washing?
Answer: The soup bowls never needed washing because the desperately hungry boys would lick them completely clean with their spoons, trying to get every last drop of the meager soup. This shows their perpetual starvation.
14. What did Oliver volunteer to do after the boys’ meeting?
Answer: After discussing their intense hunger, Oliver bravely volunteered to approach the cruel master after dinner and ask him politely for more food, more gruel, to share among the suffering boys.
15. How did the master react to Oliver asking for more food?
Answer: When Oliver made his humble request for more gruel, the well-fed master was absolutely shocked and outraged. His face turned pale at the audacity of a child asking for more food.
16. What did Mr. Bumble do when called about Oliver’s request?
Answer: When summoned by the furious master, Mr. Bumble stormed in, seized Oliver violently, and locked him alone in a cold, dark room all night to punish the boy for his intolerable request for more to eat.
17. How long was Oliver imprisoned for asking for more food?
Answer: For bravely asking for more gruel for himself and the other boys, Oliver was locked in solitary confinement, like a prisoner, for an entire miserable week in the barren room.
18. Why couldn’t Oliver sleep at night in the dark room?
Answer: Oliver could not fall asleep at night while locked in the room because he felt terrified being alone in the eerie darkness, with no one to comfort him in his suffering.
19. What did Mr. Bumble do to Oliver every morning?
Answer: Each morning, the cruel Mr. Bumble would take Oliver outside only to whip and beat the small child for having dared to ask for more food.
20. Who was Mr. Sowerberry and how did he earn money?
Answer: Mr. Sowerberry was an undertaker at the workhouse, meaning he earned his living by making coffins and preparing burials for the many people who died there in misery.
21. What did Mr. Sowerberry tell Mr. Bumble about his work?
Answer: In a chilling example of his work, Mr. Sowerberry casually informed Mr. Bumble that he had built coffins overnight for two women who had died at the workhouse, hinting at the dark fate of its inhabitants.
22. Why was Oliver pale and thin at age nine?
Answer: Due to severe malnutrition from the meager rations at the workhouse, nine-year-old Oliver grew up sickly, with pale, thin limbs and constant hunger pains in his belly.
23. What were the typical daily meals for boys in the workhouse?
Answer: The boys at the workhouse subsisted on a cruel diet of just three bowls of thin, watery gruel per day, which lacked nutrition to fill their hungry bellies.
24. Why was Oliver beaten and imprisoned?
Answer: Oliver suffered beatings and solitary imprisonment for naively asking for a little more soup one night, since this minor request was seen as outrageous disobedience by the officials.
25. How did the workhouse authorities treat Oliver for asking for more food?
Answer: For his innocent request for more food, Oliver was subjected to cruel physical abuse, public humiliation in front of the other boys, and prolonged isolation to break his spirit.
1. Where was Oliver Twist born?
a) In a private clinic b) In the workhouse c) In a park d) In a discarded building
Answer: b) In the workhouse
2. Oliver’s mother pressed her cold lips to his face and then
a) Smiled b) Began to weep c) Fell back and died d) Went to sleep
Answer: c) Fell back and died
3. The doctor raised the dead woman’s left hand and commented that she had no ring on her finger. What does this mean?
a) She was very poor b) She wasn’t fond of jewellery c) She wasn’t married d) All of the above
Answer: c) She wasn’t married
4. To the orphan boy the name Oliver Twist was given by
a) Swubble b) Unwin c) The old woman at the workhouse d) Mr Bumble
Answer: d) Mr Bumble
5. The bowls in which soup was served to workhouse boys never needed washing. Why?
a) They were made of glass b) They were made of bone-china c) The boys cleaned them with their spoons d) None of the above
Answer: c) The boys cleaned them with their spoons
6. When Oliver asked for more soup how did the master react?
a) He was pleased b) He was utterly surprised c) He shouted at Oliver d) He started beating Oliver
Answer: b) He was utterly surprised
7. Oliver was shut up in a dark room. He remained a prisoner for
a) A whole week b) Five days c) Six months d) Twenty four hours
Answer: a) A whole week
8. How much money was offered to the person who would take Oliver Twist?
a) Ten pounds b) Five pounds c) One pound d) Four pounds
Answer: b) Five pounds
9. Mr. Sowerberry made
a) Buildings b) Utensils c) Coffins d) Shoes
Answer: c) Coffins
10. Where did Oliver’s mother die?
a) On the street b) In the workhouse c) In a hospital d) At home
Answer: b) In the workhouse
11. What did Oliver ask the master for?
a) More clothes b) More soup c) More bread d) More water
Answer: b) More soup
12. How often were the boys given soup at the workhouse?
a) Once a day b) Twice a day c) Three times a day d) Four times a day
Answer: c) Three times a day
13. What did the doctor notice about Oliver’s mother’s left hand?
a) It had a ring b) It was injured c) It had no ring d) It was a large hand
Answer: c) It had no ring
14. Who named Oliver “Twist”?
a) The doctor b) Oliver’s mother c) The old woman d) Mr. Bumble
Answer: d) Mr. Bumble
15. What did Mr. Bumble do after Oliver asked for more soup?
a) He praised Oliver b) He gave Oliver more soup c) He beat Oliver d) He ignored Oliver
Answer: c) He beat Oliver
16. How long was Oliver kept prisoner after asking for more soup?
a) 1 day b) 3 days c) 1 week d) 1 month
Answer: c) 1 week
17. Who was Mr. Sowerberry?
a) A builder b) A shopkeeper c) An undertaker d) A farmer
Answer: c) An undertaker
18. Where did Oliver’s mother come from?
a) No one knew b) London c) The next town over d) She was local
Answer: a) No one knew
19. How did Oliver feel at night when he was imprisoned?
a) Happy b) Comfortable c) Cold and frightened d) Relaxed
Answer: c) Cold and frightened
20. What was Oliver given to eat each day at the workhouse?
a) Porridge b) Bread and water c) Thin soup d) Nothing
Answer: c) Thin soup
21. Why did the doctor say Oliver’s mother was “the usual story”?
a) She was poor b) She was homeless c) She wasn’t married d) All of the above
Answer: d) All of the above
Additional Fill in the Blanks
1. Oliver was born in a ________.
2. Oliver’s mother died shortly after ________ him.
3. The doctor noticed Oliver’s mother had no ________ on her finger.
4. Mr. ________ gave Oliver his name.
5. The workhouse boys cleaned their bowls with their ________.
6. Oliver asked the master for ________ soup.
7. Oliver was imprisoned in a dark room for a ________.
8. The soup disappeared quickly because the ________ was insufficient.
9. Five ________ were offered for Oliver.
10. Mr. Sowerberry made ________ for a living.
11. Oliver’s mother died in the ________.
12. The boys were given soup ________ times per day.
13. Oliver was ________ years old when he asked for more soup.
14. Oliver felt ________ and frightened at night in prison.
15. Mr. Bumble ________ Oliver after he asked for more soup.
16. The boys were given bread ________ at the workhouse.
17. Oliver felt ________ at night in his prison room.
18. Oliver’s mother wanted to ________ him before she died.
19. Oliver was imprisoned for asking for ________ soup.
20. Mr. Bumble thought Oliver could be ________ for his request.
21. Oliver’s mother had no ________ indicating she wasn’t married.
22. Oliver felt ________ in the dark prison room.
23. The workhouse boys were ________ underfed.
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