Oliver Twist

 First Page: Text Analysis

Cover page (Public domain)
Cover page (Public domain)

Division into sections and summary

The readers are immediately put in touch with the narrator who introduces the story by stating that some pieces of information are useless to the readers: for example, they do not need to know the name of the town in which the plot takes place. That is why neither will he mention it nor will he find a fictitious city name.

The readers only know that a birth occurred in a workhouse. Both the day and the date of the birth will remain secret. The narrator does not indicate the name of the baby because it is already 'prefixed to the head of [the] chapter'.

The readers then start to understand how hard were Oliver's first moments of life. His very survival after birth was at risk. The narrator comments that in this case the biography would have been very brief.

He then makes it clear that Oliver had great difficulty breathing on his birth. He would not have survived in a house full of caring people, according to the narrator. The fact that Oliver was born in a workhouse helped him fight with Nature and win. His victory was known to every inmate when he cried for three minutes and a quarter.