Reading Exercise: Oliver Twist: Charles Dickens’s Insight into Life Before! English •

In this excercise, we will practise reading for gist, detail, and specific information in the context of literature by Charles Dickens.

Oliver Twist: Charles Dickens’s Insight into Life Before!

How Is Life Different in London Today from Dickens’s Novel Oliver Twist?

Skyscrapers, the London Eye, and billionaire fashion industries with their buildings coated with gold and beautiful brass statues; this is London today in 2021. It has become a multicultural and vibrant city which holds a lot of history as well as being home to many new metropolitan areas. Charles Dickens’s novel, Oliver Twist, showed a very different side to London and was set in the 1800s. It showed broken, poverty-stricken houses, no fresh water systems, a lack of food, and many children living on the streets.

Why Did Charles Dickens Write This Book?

Charles himself lived in poverty and suffered from the consequences; his father was sent to prison for being in debt and this is something Charles fought against through his writing. Nowadays, England has put systems in place to help those who are in need, but Dickens had to really fight his way out of poverty by himself. The struggles he had to face as a child stayed with him for the rest of his life and had a big influence on the topics of his books. Many critics have commented that Dickens wrote Oliver Twist to highlight how unfair life was in London for those who were poor, and this novel made people question the problem of poverty in the 1800s.

Was the Book Popular When It Was First Published? Is It Still Popular Today?

Oliver Twist was very popular when it was first published in 1837 because it dealt with daring subjects like crime and poverty in Victorian London; it gave motivation for the poor to fight back. Another reason for the novel’s popularity was that it was published serially, meaning that it was released a chapter at a time. People were excited to read the next chapter, and it often ended on a cliff-hanger, which meant people were interested to read on.

Overall, the novel was famous both for highlighting immoral and taboo topics and for having a very exciting plot! It is still popular today and has now been adapted for film several times, including in 1948 and 2005; it has even been translated into more than ten languages! Recent psychology studies have found links between poverty and criminal activity. This is interesting given that Dickens’s message of the novel 150 years ago was that living without basic necessities leads to crime and other forms of negative behaviour.

Reading for Gist

Q1:

What best describes what the text is about?

  • AHow life in London was portrayed in Oliver Twist compared to life in London now
  • BThe life of Charles Dickens
  • CThe plot of Oliver Twist
  • DHow many films have been made on Oliver Twist
  • EHow much crime is in London

Q2:

Skim over the text. What type of opinion does Charles Dickens seem to have of life in London in the 1800s?

  • ALondon was full of lots of opportunities.
  • BLondon wasn’t a nice place to live.
  • CLondon was rich.
  • DLondon was a safe and nice place to live.

Q3:

Skim over the text. Who is the speaker/writer?

  • AOliver Twist
  • BCharles Dickens
  • CA historian
  • DChildren
  • EVictorians

Reading for Detail and Specific Information

Q4:

What type of message does Oliver Twist give the reader about London in the 1800s?

  • AA lot of people in society suffered extreme poverty and turned to crime and other ways to earn money.
  • BLondon is rich and exciting now but used to be poor.
  • CLondon had skyscrapers and exciting landmarks such as the London Eye.
  • DLondon puts systems in place nowadays to help the poor.

Q5:

How does London compare now to what it was like in the 1800s?

  • AIt looks like poverty and no fresh water systems.
  • BIt is a lot more built up with many more nationalities living there.
  • CIt is still waiting for fresh water systems to be installed.
  • DIt has only English people living there.
  • EIt is the same as now as it was in the 1800s.

Q6:

Read the following statement and decide whether it is true, false, or not mentioned: England put systems in place to help people living in poverty in the 1800s.

  • ANot mentioned
  • BTrue
  • CFalse

Q7:

Read the following statements and decide which one is true.

  • AThe novel highlighted topics such as crime in twentieth-century London.
  • BThe novel is about the skyscrapers of London.
  • CThe novel was never made into a film.
  • DOliver Twist is the author.

Q8:

Read the following statements and decide which one is false.

  • AThe novel was popular because it talked about taboo subjects.
  • BThe novel highlighted problems such as poverty in 1800s London.
  • COne of the reasons why the novel was popular was because it was released a chapter at a time.
  • DThe novel was released all in one go.

Q9:

Read the following statement and decide whether it is true, false, or not mentioned: Charles Dickens didn’t live in poverty growing up.

  • ANot mentioned
  • BFalse
  • CTrue

Q10:

Read the following statement and decide whether it is true, false, or not mentioned: London had a fresh water system built in the 1800s.

  • ANot mentioned
  • BFalse
  • CTrue

Q11:

In what year was Oliver Twist written?

  • A2021
  • B1948
  • C1837
  • D2005
  • EIt doesn’t say in the text.

Q12:

How many languages has the novel been translated into?

  • ANone
  • BMore than 10 languages
  • C10 languages
  • D150 languages
  • EIt doesn’t say in the text.

Q13:

According to the text, what can you find on buildings in London nowadays?

  • ASkyscrapers
  • BMetropolitan
  • CBillionaire fashion
  • DGold and beautiful brass statues
  • EMulticultural

Q14:

Fill in the blanks: Oliver Twist has remained popular and has been made into a film in both the year and the year .

  • A1948, 2005
  • B1800s, 2021
  • C2005, 2021
  • D1800s, 1948
  • E1948, 2021

Q15:

Fill in the blanks: Charles Dickens’s father was and so was sent to .

  • Awriter, publish books
  • Bin debt, work in London
  • Ca hard worker, a factory
  • Din debt, prison
  • Ewriter, prison

Q16:

Not long ago, evidence was gathered that there is a link between poverty and crime. How was this link found?

  • AThrough asking people who have read the novel
  • BThrough the novel
  • CThrough studies in psychology
  • DThrough Charles Dickens
  • EThrough studying novels

Q17:

What did the novel make people examine?

  • AWhat an amazing place London was to live in
  • BStudies in psychology
  • CWhat makes someone a good author
  • DHow to write a novel
  • EWhat their society was like at that time

Q18:

In the final paragraph, the article says: “Oliver Twist was very popular when it was first published….” What does the pronoun it refer to here?

  • AThe author
  • BThe boy
  • CThe novel
  • DLondon
  • EThe era

Reading for Vocabulary and Grammar

Q19:

There is one word in the text which means that someone does not have a lot of money. What is it?

  • ABeggar
  • BTaboo
  • CThe poor
  • DRich
  • EMetropolitan

Q20:

What phrase does the writer use to show that the city has many new metropolitan areas?

  • AHolds
  • BShowed
  • CHas become
  • DCoated
  • EBeing home to

Q21:

Which word in the text means “an extremely tall building”?

  • AIndustry
  • BSystem
  • CStatue
  • DSkyscraper
  • ENone of the answers are correct.

Q22:

Which word has the same meaning as “a bit at a time” in the text?

  • ADaring
  • BChapter
  • CSmall
  • DNext
  • ESerially

Q23:

Which word in the text has the same meaning as the noun connection?

  • ALink
  • BPiece
  • CConsequence
  • DBehaviour
  • EBond

Q24:

Which word in the text means “not much of something”?

  • AStricken
  • BMany
  • CLack of
  • DSuffered
  • EBroken

Q25:

Which of the following definitions best describes the word consequence?

  • AA sequence of events
  • BThe effect of something occurring before
  • CWhen something goes wrong
  • DThe effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier
  • EA synonym of suffer

Q26:

Which of the following definitions best describes the word taboo?

  • AA topic or subject which a group of people avoid talking about
  • BA topic or subject which people talk about
  • CA dangerous topic or subject
  • DSomething that a community values a lot
  • ESomething exciting in literature

Q27:

How is the word face being used in the paragraph “Why Did Charles Dickens Write This Book?”

  • AEdge of a cliff
  • BTo stand in front of something
  • CPart of the body
  • DThe side of an object
  • ETo deal with something

Q28:

Which of the following definitions describes “a plot”?

  • AA plan for a building
  • BThe story line of a book or movie
  • CA place where the story is set
  • DTo plan something
  • EA garden or nature reserve

Q29:

In the first paragraph, it is stated that “It has become a multicultural and vibrant city.”

What tense is this written in?

  • APast simple
  • BPresent perfect continuous
  • CPresent simple
  • DPast continuous
  • EPresent perfect simple

Q30:

In the first paragraph, it is stated that “It has become a multicultural and vibrant city.”

Which statement best describes the meaning?

  • AIt is going to be a multicultural and vibrant city.
  • BIt has always been a multicultural and vibrant city.
  • CIt is now a multicultural and vibrant city but wasn’t before.
  • DIt was a multicultural and vibrant city before and it is now.
  • EWe don’t know if it is a multicultural and vibrant city.

Q31:

In the second paragraph, it is stated that “Charles himself lived in poverty.”

What tense is this written in?

  • APresent perfect simple
  • BPast simple
  • CPresent simple
  • DPresent perfect continuous
  • EPast continuous

Q32:

In the second paragraph, it is stated that “Charles himself lived in poverty.”

Which statement best describes the meaning?

  • ACharles lived in poverty and the situation has ended.
  • BCharles is living in poverty now.
  • CCharles lived in poverty and still does.
  • DWe don’t know if Charles still lives in poverty.
  • ECharles may live in poverty in the future.

Correct Answer

Incorrect Answer

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