Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chapters IV/V/VI Recap

Nathaniel here again. Well, since we're on chapter 9 today, I feel it would be good to share my thoughts on chapters 4-6.
Chapter IV: Oliver, Being Offered Another Place, Makes His First Entry Into Public Life

Well, this chapter begins by establishing the undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry, and his family and servants. Mr. Sowerberry (hee, if you ignore the spelling, it sounds like sour berry...) talks to Mr. Bumble (we've already established him as not being likable.)

Anyhoo, Oliver gets taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry (whom comment that Oliver is very small. No, really? Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Finally, Oliver is led to his bed, and falls asleep. And that's the end... of Chapter IV.

Chapter V: Oliver Mingles With New Associates, Going to A Funeral for the First Time, He Forms an Unfavorable Notion of His Master's Business

Chapter V begins with Oliver awake, and feeling lonely. Well, you have to consider, he's alone. No one to be friends with, or no one to care for him, not even someone to say hi to. That would be horrible, don't ya think?

So, this chapter introduces Mr. Noah Claypool, who's a charity-boy. (and incidentally, someone very important in the other chapters... Oops, spoilers...) But, Noah tells Oliver to "take down the shutters", to which he does, only to be rewarded by a kick from Noah. Gee, so much gratitude. (Yes, more sarcasm...)

And as both Mrs. Sowerberry and Noah talk and then laugh, we get a visual picture of Oliver, cold and shivering, sitting in the corner, eating pieces of stale bread. And this was the treatment of orphans in Victorian-era England. Sad, isn't it?

Anyway, one of the main events is the funeral of a woman named Bayton. What strikes me is that Mr. Bumble says that they've never heard of the family until her death. How could he not? Records? Was she a churchgoer? Or was she not?

So, Oliver ends up going to help Mr. Sowerberry with the funeral and the burial. The chapter ends with Mr. Sowerberry asking Oliver how he liked it, with Oliver's reply being one I can relate to: "Not very well, sir."

Chapter VI: Oliver, Being Goaded By The Taunts of Noah, Rouses into Action, and Rather Admonishes Him

Ok, so the first thing we learn at the beginning is that Oliver has survived the month's trial, and is now formally apprenticed. Unfortunately, for many more months, he meekly submitted to Noah's domination. (See, you kinda start to hate Noah.) Until this chapter.

Noah asks Oliver how's his mother. Oliver replies that she's dead, and not to talk about her, while he's trying not to tear up and start crying. Unfortunately, Noah continues to the point where Oliver overthrows the table and chair, grabs Noah by the neck, (Go Oliver!) shook him by the neck, and throws him to the floor.

Noah then cries for help, which causes Oliver to be "disciplined" by Mrs. Sowerberry, (who also makes comments towards Oliver's mother.) and he is locked into the dust-cellar, with Noah being sent to retrieve Mr. Bumble. (boo!)

Ugh. Someone will probably recap Chapters VI, VIII, XI, and blog about X tomorrow. Good night, and good luck!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Some questions so far ...

1. How is today's society different from the Victorian England we see in Oliver Twist?
2. How do we care for orphans today?
3. Why do you think Oliver is treated the way he is?

I'm looking forward to your answers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chapter III: Relates How Oliver Twist Was Very Near Getting A Place Which Would Not Have Been A Sinecure.

Well I guess I am up, my name is Chanel and I will be bringing you today chapter 3 of Oliver Twist, I hope you enjoy what I thought of this chapter.

When we first read this chapter Oliver is a prisoner in a dark room, (pretty good start for the chapter right?) anyway how did he end up here you ask?,long story short poor Oliver asks for more gruel which was unheard of, resulting in where we are now, in a dark room.

In comes Mr.Gamfield talk about first impressions he is a fat chimney sweep who has a nasty temper, who just so happened to be looking for an apprentice, I think you know where I am going.

After bickering the price of Oliver back and forth the board let Gamfield take him for three pound ten, which wasn't to Gamfield satisfaction but he took the deal.

Leading poor crying Oliver Gamfield leads him to another man named Mr.Limbkins, who was a half-blind magistrate. After asking questions and deducting I think through this he had already made this mind up, but how Oliver looked and acted confirmed it.

After all that Oliver was brought back and put back into let, which is pretty sad when you think about it hasn't he been through enough already?.

Anyway I hope you enjoy this, it was interesting to write. I will see you guys later in the next chapter I do.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chapter II: Treats of Oliver Twist's Growth, Education, and Board

Nathaniel here. Today is Chapter II. In this chapter, we learn about what transpired between Oliver's birth and his ninth birthday.

From the beginning, we learn that Oliver, from the first eight or ten months, was "the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception."  He was taken care of, but he was wanted to be sent to a branch-workhouse that was home to 20 or 30 juvenile offenders, which was "under the parental superintendence of an elderly female."

Now, Mrs. Mann, described as the "good lady of the house" is visited by Mr. Bumble (on Oliver's birthday, nonetheless), who is a beadle. (someone in an religious organization, who may usher, keep order, or other things too numerous to count. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beadle)

Anyway, Mr. Bumble starts talking to Mrs. Mann, while meanwhile, Susan gets Oliver and cleans him up.
Then, Mr. Bumble takes Oliver to his new home, where the famous line you've might have heard before is "Please, sir, I want some more." As soon, the board, as well as Mr. Bumble, are horrified, because of Oliver's request. To which a gentleman in a white waistcoat says, "That boy will be hung. I know that boy will be hung."

Stay tuned for more posts.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome to the Billings Family Book Club!

This is our first entry on a blog we are starting, to record our adventure into great literature.  As part of our homeschooling program, we have identified a list of books we would like our children to read over the next few years. And, of course, we will be reading the books with our children.

Nathaniel selected the first book:  "Oliver Twist," by Charles Dickens.

In the first chapter, we see the circumstances of Oliver's birth in a workhouse to an unwed mother.  "'The old story,' he (the surgeon) said, shaking his head: 'no wedding-ring, I see."  The thought that occurred to me, reading this, was, "How far we have come from the days when we expected mothers to be married."  I don't call it progress.

We see that Oliver's mother died shortly after his birth, and that Oliver's mere survival was miraculous.  "Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them."  But survive he did -- and "cried lustily." 

"If he could have known that he was an orphan ... perhaps he would have cried the louder."

I'm looking forward to other posts as we proceed through this classic book.  We invite you to join us!