English Comprehension on an extract from Oliver Twist
Chapter VIII OLIVER WALKS TO LONDON. HE ENCOUNTERS ON THE ROAD A STRANGE SORT OF YOUNG GENTLEMAN
Carefully read the extract from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and answer the 10 questions that follow.
Early on the seventh morning after he had left his native place, Oliver limped slowly into the little town of Barnet. The window-shutters were closed; the street was empty; not a soul had awakened to the business of the day.
The sun was rising in all its splendid beauty; but the light only served to show the boy his own lonesomeness and desolation, as he sat, with bleeding feet and covered with dust, upon a door-step.
By degrees, the shutters were opened; the window-blinds were drawn up; and people began passing to and fro. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a moment or two, or turned round to stare at him as they hurried by; but none relieved him, or troubled themselves to inquire how he came there. He had no heart to beg. And there he sat.
He had been crouching on the step for some time: wondering at the great number of public-houses (every other house in Barnet was a tavern, large or small), gazing listlessly at the coaches as they passed through, and thinking how strange it seemed that they could do, with ease, in a few hours, what it had taken him a whole week of courage and determination beyond his years to accomplish: when he was roused by observing that a boy, who had passed him carelessly some minutes before, had returned, and was now surveying him most earnestly from the opposite side of the way.
He took little heed of this at first; but the boy remained in the same attitude of close observation so long, that Oliver raised his head, and returned his steady look. Upon this, the boy crossed over; and walking close up to Oliver, said ‘Hullo, my covey! What’s the row?’
The boy, who addressed this inquiry to the young wayfarer, was about his own age: but one of the queerest looking boys that Oliver had even seen. He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes.
His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment–and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again.
He wore a man’s coat, which reached nearly to his heels.
He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers.
‘Hullo, my covey! What’s the row?’ said this strange young gentleman to Oliver.
‘I am very hungry and tired,’ replied Oliver: the tears standing in his eyes as he spoke. ‘I have walked a long way. I have been walking these seven days.’
‘Walking for sivin days!’ said the young gentleman. ‘Oh, I see. Beak’s order, eh? But,’ he added, noticing Oliver’s look of surprise, ‘I suppose you don’t know what a beak is, my flash com-pan-i-on.’
Oliver mildly replied, that he had always heard a bird’s mouth described by the term in question.
‘My eyes, how green!’ exclaimed the young gentleman. ‘Why, a beak’s a madgst’rate; and when you walk by a beak’s order, it’s not straight forerd, but always agoing up, and niver a coming
down agin. Was you never on the mill?’
‘What mill?’ inquired Oliver.
- How has Dickens used a contrasting image when he refers to the sun in the opening of this extract? (3)
- Explain with a quote why Oliver’s feet are bleeding? (2)
- List 4 things about the strange boy’s appearance that Oliver notices? (2)
- Write down the quote that informs us that no one on that street had woken up yet. (1)
- What type of word is ‘earnestly’ and what does it reveal about the way the boy looks at Oliver? (3)
- How long has Oliver been walking? (1)
- Describe one unusual and contradictory aspect of the strange boy’s manner that Oliver observes? (2)
- Find an adverb that indicates Oliver’s feeling of exhaustion? (2)
- Think of two adjectives that would effectively describe how the passers by treat Oliver. Explain your choice.(3)
- What is your opinion about how the passers by treat Oliver? (3)