|A. Charles DICKENS
- When was he born ? in
- Why didn't he go to school at the age of ten ? Because
of his family's limited financial resources.
- What happened to his father in 1824 ? and why ? He
was imprisoned for debt.
- Where did Dickens work then ? at
a blacking warehouse.
- Was that period important in his life ? Yes,
a period of humiliation and neglect.
- Where did he go to live with his wife ? 6
months in America.
- How many children did he have ? 10.
- Did he always stay in England ? No,
he went to France and to Italy.
- When did he die ? and how old was he ? in
1870 at the age of 58.
- Where is he buried ? in
the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
II. His works - Find the corresponding
titles in English :
1. Les Aventures de Mr Pickwick : The
2. Conte de Noël : A Christmas
3. Le Carillon : The Chimes.
4. Le Grillon du Foyer : The Cricket
of the Hearth.
5. Les Temps Difficiles : Hard Times.
6. Les Grandes Espérances : Great Expectations.
7. Notre Ami Commun : Our Mutual Friend.
B. Before seeing the film : who’s
who in Oliver Twist
Find the right letter
|a) The cleverest of Fagin’s
young pickpockets. He talks and dresses like a grown man.
|b) A brutal professional burglar brought
up in Fagin’s gang
|c) An orphan born in a workhouse
|d) One of Fagin’s pickpockets
|e) A criminal who trains homeless children
to pick pockets
|f) Mr Sowerberry’s mean wife
|The Artful Dodger
|g) A well-off gentleman who is Oliver’s
|h) One of Fagin and Sikes’associates,
crass and not too bright
|i) Mr Brownlow’s kindhearted housekeeper
|j) The undertaker to whom Oliver is apprenticed
|k) A pompous beadle who symbolizes self-righteousness,
greed, hypocrisy and folly
|l) A charity boy who bullies and mistreats
|m) A young prostitute and Bill Sikes’lover
closer look at the poor’s life in the XIX century
1. The dark side of the Industrial Revolution
During that period, there was a massive increase
in the number of factories and mills.
As a consequence, many people from the countryside
began to move into the towns
looking for better paid work.
The factory owners built houses for these
A typical worker’s house :
- It was built really quickly and cheaply.
- There was no running water or toilets.
- It was crowded with 5 or more possibly
crammed into a single room.
- The household rubbish was thrown out
into the streets.
In general, these houses, like the new towns, were dirty and unhealthy.
They were perfect breeding grounds for diseases
like cholera, typhus, smallpox
A poor and dirty neighbourhood like this is called a slum.
2. Child labour
Many factory workers were children.
They worked long hours and were often
treated badly by the supervisors or overseers.
Some of them were as young as 4 or 5.
Where they worked :
- In coal mines, they had to open doors
for the wagons to pass. It was the easiest job, but it was very lonely
and the place was usually damp and draughty.
They could also carry loads of coal on
- In textile mills, they spent long working
hours at the machines which caused some serious accidents.
- In match factories, phosphorous caused
their teeth to rot and some died from
the effect of breathing it into their
- They had to sweep chimneys in large
houses and suffered many cuts, grazes and bruises
on their knees, elbows
and thighs because the passages
of chimneys were very narrow.
- In the fields, the little bird scarers
could work from 4 in the morning until
7 at night.
- In the streets, hordes of dirty, ragged
children roamed the streets with no money
and no home. They were often orphans.
They stole or picked
pockets to buy food.
3. Oliver was born in a “workhouse”.
What was that
Who went to live in a workhouse ?
||sick and deranged people
What was it like in the workhouse ?
The buildings looked like prisons.
Women were kept separate from the men,
including their husbands.
Children were kept separately from adults
– even from their own parents.
The inmates had tedious work to do (ie
hard, tiring work) from early in the morning till late in the evening.
The meals were taken in silence, and no cutlery
was provided – inmates had to use their fingers.
These meals were dull, tasteless and so meagre
that they were described as “a slow process
of starvation” (people were always hungry : see the famous
episode in OliverTwist, I want some more).