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Reading Fiction: Comparing Two Texts by Dickens

In this worksheet, students compare an extract from A Christmas Carol with one from Oliver Twist, both by Charles Dickens.

'Reading Fiction: Comparing Two Texts by Dickens' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Make Critical Text Comparisons

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Read this extract from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Oliver Twist has just been born in a Victorian workhouse. (A workhouse is like a prison where poor people could work for no money but for food and a place to sleep).

 


 

What an excellent example of the power of dress, young Oliver Twist was! Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar; it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society. But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once- a parish child- the orphan of a workhouse- the humble, half-starved drudge- to be cuffed and buffeted through the world- despised by all, and pitied by none.

 

 

 

Now read this extract from A Christmas Carol, also by Charles Dickens. The Cratchit family, who are poor but respectable, are being described.

 

 

There was nothing of high mark in this. They were not a handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But, they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time; and when they faded, and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit's torch at parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last.

Which of these sentences fit both of the extracts we have read?

A baby boy has just been born.

You might be dressed in a poor way, but it's what is inside that counts.

Nearly everyone in Victorian times wore rags.

Read this extract from the Oliver Twist text:

 

"Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar"

 

Choose THREE comments below which you think Charles Dickens might be making here.

 

We are all born equal.

What we wear tells other people which social class we belong to.

Babies are wrapped in blankets.

Oliver Twist was a baby boy.

Rich children and poor children will have very different lives ahead of them.

In the extract from A Christmas Carol, it says:

 

"Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's."

 

What does this mean? Choose the best answer below.

Peter helped the family out.

They were poor.

They sometimes had to swap their belongings for money to buy food.

Match up the Victorian words used in the extracts with their modern versions below.

Column A

Column B

Orphan
Worker
Drudge
Threadbare
Despised
Hated
Scanty
Happy
Parting
Leaving
Contented
No parents

In the Oliver Twist extract, Dickens says that Oliver will be "pitied by none".

How can this be true when we feel sorry for him because of how he is described here as a newborn baby?

Dickens means that he doesn't feel sorry for Oliver, himself.

Dickens means that no-one should feel sorry for him.

Dickens means that most rich people at that time wouldn't have felt sorry for him.

Which of the following adjectives are from the extract of A Christmas Carol, and which are not? Remember, you can view the text again by clicking on the Help button above.

 Adjectives in the text NOT in the text
Happy
Chuffed
Grateful
Over-the-moon
Pleased
Contented

In Oliver Twist, Dickens writes that before Oliver was covered up with rags; "It would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society."

 

What clues does this give us for the rest of the story? Choose TWO.

That Oliver is just a baby.

That Oliver might make something of his life.

That Oliver might have richer relatives than we think.

That Oliver is haughty.

That strangers shouldn't look at babies.

In A Christmas Carol Dickens writes:

 

"Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last."

 

What does this tell us about Scrooge?

That Scrooge is beginning to learn something.

Scrooge wanted to keep an eye to see if they steal something.

Scrooge wanted to treat them all to new clothes.

Read this student's work and fill in the missing word. Write just the word in the box below.

 

Oliver Twist was born in a ______________. He started life in extreme poverty.

Read this student's work and fill in the missing word. Write just the word in the box below.

 

Charles Dickens shows us how poor people lived in both texts. In A Christmas Carol he describes how the family have shabby __________ but they are still happy and love each other.

  • Question 1

Which of these sentences fit both of the extracts we have read?

CORRECT ANSWER
You might be dressed in a poor way, but it's what is inside that counts.
  • Question 2

Read this extract from the Oliver Twist text:

 

"Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar"

 

Choose THREE comments below which you think Charles Dickens might be making here.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
We are all born equal.
What we wear tells other people which social class we belong to.
Rich children and poor children will have very different lives ahead of them.
EDDIE SAYS
Although all five comments are correct, babies being wrapped in blankets and Oliver Twist being a boy are obvious facts, whilst the three statements above tell us about what Dickens really feels about this situation.
  • Question 3

In the extract from A Christmas Carol, it says:

 

"Peter might have known, and very likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's."

 

What does this mean? Choose the best answer below.

CORRECT ANSWER
They sometimes had to swap their belongings for money to buy food.
EDDIE SAYS
All three are true, but this sentence is the best for explaining the quotation above.
  • Question 4

Match up the Victorian words used in the extracts with their modern versions below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Orphan
No parents
Drudge
Worker
Despised
Hated
Scanty
Threadbare
Parting
Leaving
Contented
Happy
  • Question 5

In the Oliver Twist extract, Dickens says that Oliver will be "pitied by none".

How can this be true when we feel sorry for him because of how he is described here as a newborn baby?

CORRECT ANSWER
Dickens means that most rich people at that time wouldn't have felt sorry for him.
  • Question 6

Which of the following adjectives are from the extract of A Christmas Carol, and which are not? Remember, you can view the text again by clicking on the Help button above.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Adjectives in the text NOT in the text
Happy
Chuffed
Grateful
Over-the-moon
Pleased
Contented
  • Question 7

In Oliver Twist, Dickens writes that before Oliver was covered up with rags; "It would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society."

 

What clues does this give us for the rest of the story? Choose TWO.

CORRECT ANSWER
That Oliver might make something of his life.
That Oliver might have richer relatives than we think.
  • Question 8

In A Christmas Carol Dickens writes:

 

"Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last."

 

What does this tell us about Scrooge?

CORRECT ANSWER
That Scrooge is beginning to learn something.
EDDIE SAYS
Scrooge is keeping his eye on the family because he is learning a lot about people who are poorer than him, such as the Cratchits, and how they can be so content even though they don't have a lot of money.
  • Question 9

Read this student's work and fill in the missing word. Write just the word in the box below.

 

Oliver Twist was born in a ______________. He started life in extreme poverty.

CORRECT ANSWER
workhouse
work house
  • Question 10

Read this student's work and fill in the missing word. Write just the word in the box below.

 

Charles Dickens shows us how poor people lived in both texts. In A Christmas Carol he describes how the family have shabby __________ but they are still happy and love each other.

CORRECT ANSWER
clothes
---- OR ----

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