CHAPTER II: TREATS OF OLIVER TWIST’S GROWTH, EDUCATION, AND BOARD 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 meal-times. Oliver Twist’s gruel. Gruel was served to orphans as an economic necessity. Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Oliver Twist study guide. Oliver has been in the parish orphanage all his short life, a place overcrowded and constantly short of food. The Dickensian delights of the Victorian workhouse, immortalised in the moment when a starving Oliver Twist Questions & Answers Question 15: How did the boys react to the meal served to them? "Oliver Twist" was published at a time when many of Dickens' countrymen were living in great poverty. The plot of this novel centres around and follows the journey of the parish boy "Oliver Twist." You know the line even if you haven't read Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist. You certainly couldn't feed hundreds of children steak and eggs on city funds. Photograph from matsuyuki on Flickr "Please, sir, can I have some more?" The most unfortunate were sent to workhouses, where they received food and lodging in exchange for their labor. Ever the social critic, Charles Dickens immortalized gruel as an image of poverty with a famous scene in his 1838 novel Oliver Twist, in which a young, starving Oliver gets … Unfortunatly, Dickens and his ilk often used gruel as a metephor for cruelty. The protagonist of Dickens's novel ends up in such a workhouse as a child. Like any novelist, Dickens didn’t hesitate to play with the truth a bit. The relief was inseparable from the workhouse and the gruel, and that frightened people. Oliver Twist. But did you ever wonder if a bowl of gruel was worth asking for seconds, as the title character did? The thin porridge has had a bad reputation ever since. To earn his gruel, Oliver spends his days picking oakum. When Oliver has the temerity to ask for more after the evening meal of gruel he astonishes and horrifies the parish board and the parish beadle. After taking these initial photographs -- Oliver Twist (gruel), The Catcher in the Rye (a cheese sandwich and a malted milk), Moby-Dick (clam chowder), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (tea) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (an open-faced sandwich and coffee) -- I was totally hooked, and wanted to do more.