English KS2: Oliver Twist - Episode 3
Oliver appears in the magistrate's court - and Mr Brownlow, the victim of the theft - is also there, pleading leniency for the boy. Charges are dropped when a witness testifies that Oliver had nothing to do with the robbery.
Oliver is taken ill but is looked after by Mr Brownlow and his house-keeper, Mrs Bedwin. Mr Brownlow is amazed by the striking similarity between Oliver and the portrait of a young woman hanging in his home.
When Oliver recovers he pursuades Mr Brownlow to allow him outside on an errand. In the streets he is spotted by Nancy - one of Fagin's gang - and Oliver is abucted by her and the villainous Sikes.
Oliver is returned to Fagin's den where Nancy shows remorse for her part in his capture, asking that the boy be treated without violence and even preventing Sikes from setting his dog on Oliver.
Oliver briefly attempts to escape and is locked in a back room - a prisoner.
Ideas for use in the classroom
Understanding, interpreting and responding to texts:
What does the magistrate mean by “he’s availed himself of your permission”? (Oliver has fainted – the magistrate believes he is faking illness after hearing Mr Brownlow suggest that he looks ill).
Why does the magistrate say to Brownlow that “the law will overtake you yet”? (Mr Brownlow has forgotten to pay for the book he was reading when he had his pocked picked).
Why does Mr Brownlow take Oliver back to his house? (Oliver is ill. There is also the suggestion that Brownlow recognises Oliver somehow).
Why do you think that Oliver is so taken by the lady in the portrait by his bed? (Open to speculation at this point – the fact that Oliver closely resembles the portrait is a clue).
Bill Sikes refers to Fagin as “an insatiable old fence”. What does he mean by “fence”? (A fence is someone who takes in stolen goods and sells them on for profit).
Why are Fagin and Sikes keen to bring Oliver back? (They are concerned he will give information about them to the police).
How does Nancy get information about Oliver’s whereabouts? (She pretends to be his older sister).
On what errand does Oliver leave Mr Brownlow’s house? (Taking payment, and returning a book, to the bookseller).
Why does Nancy try to defend Oliver from Bill and Fagin? (She dislikes the violence with which they are treating him, and recognises some of her own past – being forced into a life of crime by Fagin).
For what reason is Mr Brownlow sitting and looking at his watch? (He is anxiously waiting for Oliver to come back, having expected him to return in 20 minutes).
Write up the notes on Oliver’s case that Mr Fang the magistrate might have made.
Imagine that Mr Brownlow, or Mrs Bedwin, keep a diary. Record your thoughts about Oliver’s arrival, his resemblance to the portrait, and his disappearance.
Write a story about how Nancy became part of Fagin’s gang as a child.