Once Oliver had made that fateful mistake of asking for more food at supper, he was immediately beaten and ordered to instant confinement. A reward was then offered to anyone who took Oliver from the parish. From this evidence so far, it is clear to see that children in particular suffered heavily to suit the financial gain of others. At first, it was Mrs. Mann who was collecting a substantial profit from the weekly allowance given to her from the parish. She decided that her gain was more important than the clean upbringing of a child and the correct nourishment for a young person was second to her well being.
Next, the parish Board took measures to change the opinion of workhouses and decrease the number of poor folk going to them. “To starve slowly within the workhouse or to speed up the process outside. ” For the next week, Oliver was subject to public floggings in front of the other boys at meal times and isolation in a cold and damp room, to serve as a reminder and to make sure that the other young orphans did not make the same mistake. Then, a chimney sweep saw the notice outside the parish offering five pounds to any person wishing to take Oliver. Mr. Gamfield, the chimney sweep, then bartered with the Board to find a fair price for the boy.
It was in this discussion that the reality of Oliver’s childhood was well summed up in the opinion of a rather harsh man, referred to as ‘the man in the white waistcoat. ‘ “He wants the stick now and then: it’ll do him good; and his board needn’t come very expensive, for he hasn’t been over-fed since he was born. Ha! ha! ha! ” However, Oliver was not sold to that man as he pleaded with the magistrates not to let him go with such a mean man. Oliver was returned to the workhouse, before at last being sold to Mr. Sowerberry, a local undertaker, who seemed a kind man.
Upon being introduced to the undertaker’s wife, she immediately seems to view Oliver in a bad way because of where he is from. “I see no saving in parish children….. for they always cost more to keep, than they’re worth. ” It seems that almost everybody at this time makes sweeping generalisations about orphans from poor backgrounds. Then, when Oliver is given his first meal (of cold scraps), his famine is further noticeable when he devours the lot in the space of a few minutes. “….. the horrible avidity with which Oliver tore the bits asunder with all the ferocity of famine. “