Rollover Information
About the Series Schedule The Archive Learning Resources The American Collection Home Search Shop
Oliver Twist Links and Bibliography The Forum A Victorian Twister game Novel to Film Oliver Twist Teachers Guide The Dickens Timeline Olivers London Whos Who Section Essays an Interviews Masterpiece Theatre Oliver Twist
Novel to Film [imagemap with 9 links]
Oliver asks for more

The novel | The screenplay | The film

Oliver asks for more
From the novel by Charles Dickens
Excerpted from Chapter 2

The room in which the boys were fed, was a large stone hall, with a copper at one end: out of which the master, dressed in an apron for the purpose, and assisted by one or two women, ladled the gruel at mealtimes. Of this festive composition each boy had one porringer, and no more -- except on occasions of great public rejoicing, when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. The bowls never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again; and when they had performed this operation, (which never took very long, the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls,) they would sit staring at the copper, with such eager eyes, as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed; employing themselves, meanwhile, in sucking their fingers most assiduously, with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. Boys have generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months; at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that one boy: who was tall for his age, and hadn't been used to that sort of thing, (for his father had kept a small cook's shop): hinted darkly to his companions, that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him, who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. He had a wild, hungry, eye; and they implicitly believed him. A council was held; lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening, and ask for more; and it fell to Oliver Twist.

The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook's uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over the short commons. The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:

"Please, sir, I want some more."

The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds; and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

"What!" said the master at length, in a faint voice.

"Please, sir," replied Oliver, "I want some more."

The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.

The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said,

"Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!"

There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance.

"For more!" said Mr. Limbkins. "Compose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?"

"He did, sir," replied Bumble.

"That boy will be hung," said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. "I know that boy will be hung."

back to top

Oliver asks for more
From the screenplay by Alan Bleasdale

First Boy:
Not one, but two. That's what we want. Two bowls of gruel. An' . . . an' . . . or another lump of bread!

Adr: Crowd

Oliver :

Mrs. Mann :
For health and strength and food to eat we give thee thanks, Amen.

FX: Clatter of Cutlery

Tall Lad :

Oliver :
Please, sir . . . I want some more.

Mr. Slout :
. . . What?

Oliver :
Please, sir, I want some more.

Mr. Slout :

FX: Slapping

Mrs. Mann :
I'll give you more. You wicked, wicked boy.

Bumble :
Mr Limbkins, Mr Limbkins. Begging your pardon, sir! But Oliver Twist here has asked for more.

Limbkins :
For more?

Limbkins :
He asked for more after he had eaten his supper? Compose yourself, Bumble, and talk, man?

Bumble :
He did, sir. He did. Never in all my -

Flinders :
That boy will be hung! I know that boy will be hung! You will be hung. Boy! . . . You do know what being hung is, don't you, boy?

back to top

Oliver asks for more
From the film

  Play RealVideo

 •   Go to to download the free QuickTime player.
 •   Go to to download free RealPlayer plugin.

Novel to Film:
Oliver asks for more | Nancy finds Oliver | Fagin in his cell

Essays + Interviews | Who's Who | Oliver's London | A Dickens Timeline
Teacher's Guide | Novel to Film | A Victorian Twister | The Forum
Links and Bibliography

Home | About The Series | The American Collection | The Archive
Schedule & Season | Feature Library | eNewsletter | Book Club
Learning Resources | Forum | Search | Shop | Feedback

WGBH Logo PBS logo


Masterpiece is sponsored by: