Table of Contents
‘The Boy Who Asked For More’ is a section from ‘Oliver Twist.’ The chapter will take you on a journey through the hardships and sufferings of a destitute child named Oliver.
Charles Dickens, the author, was a staunch critic of child labour and institutional abuse. He has written about the inhumane treatment meted out to helpless youngsters in a poorhouse.
Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England, on February 7, 1812. His books were boosted by depth, compassion, and intellect of his understanding of the society and its flaws, and he became one of the great forces in 19th-century writing as well as an influential spokesperson.
Oliver’s unknown parent and his Misery at the poorhouse
On a chilly, dark night in the winter of 1837, Oliver was born in a poor cottage in a remote town. At the time of his birth, a doctor and a poor elderly woman were present. Oliver’s mother was a beautiful young woman. She was found unconscious on the street in front of the poorhouse. Her shoes were torn, and she seemed as though she had walked a long distance to get there. Oliver’s mother passed away shortly after he was born. Nobody knew who she was, where she came from, or where she was headed. As a result, Oliver remained an orphan in the poor house.
The infant was given the name Oliver Twist by Mr Bumble, the town’s officer. The poorhouse was run by Mr Bumble. He ill-treated and starved the children. He was selfish, arrogant, and ruthless. Oliver grew up to be a pale and feebleyoung man. Mother’s love was something he longed for. He lived with the other youngsters in the poorhouse.
Food was served to the children in a huge stone hall. At one end of the hall, a metal bowl contained the watery gruel. The master would stand near the basin and hand a tiny bowl of watery gruel to each child. Because they did not have enough food to eat, the children were always hungry. One of the older guys threatened one night, that if he did not get an additional bowl of gruel, he would devour(swallow) the boy who slept next to him. The young boys believed this and were terrified of him. They called a gathering of all the boys and convinced Oliver to request more gruel after supper.
Supper was served, and the kids guzzled (gulp) it down. They pushed Oliver to go to the kitchen and request some more gruel. With a bowl in his hand, Oliver approached the master and asked formore gruel. The fat master couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Oliver repeated his request once more.
Oliver was smacked with a bowl, on the head by the master. He grabbed Oliver’s arm and yelled for the beadle. Mr. Bumble dashed into the room. When he learned of Oliver’s demand, he was horrified. He yelled at Oliver, threatening him with severe punishment.
As a punishment for his boldness and hunger, Oliver was locked up in a room and made to spend the night alone. Mr. Bumble took the decision to expel Oliver from the poorhouse. The next morning, he put up a sign on the entrance. He offered a five-pound prize to anyone who could get Oliver out of the poorhouse. Oliver’s companions were thus, accountable for his expulsion from the poorhouse.
Hence, we learn that a child’s upbringing and surrounding has a significant impact on his or her decision-making and understanding of things. Oliver did not have access to adequate food or the love and warmth of a family. He led a miserable life with unfaithful companions.
We should also take note of Dickens’ writings on the subject, which show his concern for child maltreatment.