English KS2: Oliver Twist - Episode 6
Oliver is enjoying a new life in the country with Rose and Mrs Maylie but his new-found comfort is disturbed when Rose falls dangerously ill. Oliver takes a letter summoning Dr Losberne into town to post, where he has a chance meeting with Monks. Monks recognises Oliver and recoils at the sight of him; Oliver though has no idea who Monks is.
Mrs Maylie also summons her son - Harry - and it becomes clear that Harry and Rose have an established and deeply-felt love for each other.
Rose recovers and life in the country returns to normal, with Oliver taking lessons from a local tutor. But one day he falls asleep at his books and two figures approach the window of his room through the garden. It is Monks and Fagin - who has come to confirm Oliver's identity and location. Oliver awakes and Harry and the servants give chase to the two men but to no avail.
The scene changes to the workhouse where Oliver was born. Mr Bumble is now master of the workhouse, having made an unhappy match with Mrs Corney. At the local inn he is approached by Monks who has come to seek him out. Monks wants to know the circumstances of Oliver's birth...and Mr Bumble, sensing financial advantage, is only too happy to help him.
Ideas for use in the classroom
Understanding, interpreting and responding to texts:
Why does Mrs Maylie send for her son, Harry? (Because Rose is gravely ill – it later becomes clear that she and Harry have a close relationship).
Why does Oliver think Monks is a madman? (Because of the strangeness of Monks’s reaction to him – Oliver has not met him before).
How does Oliver come to be asleep in the cottage? (He visits the cottage to take lessons in reading and writing – he feels sleepy on what is a warm afternoon).
Why would Monks and Fagin be observing Oliver in the cottage? (Monks and Fagin both want Oliver to be returned to a life of crime).
How does Harry explain Oliver’s vision of Fagin? (A dream).
Why would Rose be begging Harry to “forget” her? (Open to speculation at this point – they appear to be close, but Rose is worried that her background will be a hindrance to Harry’s prospects).
What has happened to Mr Bumble since he appeared previously in the story? (He has married Mrs Corney).
How would you describe the balance of power between Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney? (Mr Bumble is described as “hen pecked” – he is bossed around).
What does Monks mean when he says to Bumble, “you have the same eye to your interest that you always had”? (He assumes, rightly, that Mr Bumble can be bribed for information).
For what reason does Monks agree to meet Bumble again the next evening? (Bumble will introduce her to Mrs Carney, who has information about Oliver, gleaned from Old Sally before her death).
Write the letter that Mrs Maylie sent to Harry – and a reply from Harry to her.
Write diary entries for Rose and Harry, describing their feelings about the conversation that they have.
Act out imagined scenes from Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney’s early married life – how does Mr Bumble discover that life will not be as lazy as he might have imagined?