British novelist Charles Dickens
was born February 7, 1812, in
Portsmouth, England, the second
of eight children.
The family’s financial situation
had grown dire, as Charles’s
father, John Dickens was always
living beyond the family’s means.
In 1822, the Dickens family
moved to Camden Town, a poor
neighborhood in London. John
was then sent to prison for debt
in 1824, when Charles was just 12
years old. All the family, except
Charles, went with him.
To help support the family, Charles Dickens was
forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking
This early degrading experience had a shattering
and lasting experience on him. He felt abandoned
and neglected. He was also introduced to the
world of the working poor, where child laborers
were abused and ill-treated.
When his father received a family inheritance and
used it to pay off his debts, Dickens was back to
school. But in 1827, he had to drop out of school
and work as an office boy at an attorney's, while
he studied shorthand at night.
From 1830 he worked as a shorthand reporter in
the courts and afterwards as a parliamentary
and newspaper reporter.
In 1833 Dickens began to contribute short
stories and essays to periodicals under the
Dickens's first book, a collection of stories titled
Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836.
In 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter
of the editor of the Evening Chronicle. Together
they had 10 children before they separated in
In 1836, Dickens became editor for Bentley’s
Miscellany of which Pickwick Papers (1836-1837)
was first serialized.
Most of his novels were first serialised in
monthly magazines as was a common practice of
the time. Oliver Twist between 1837 and 1839
was followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1838-
1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841),
and Barnaby Rudge (1841) and A Christmas
From 1849 to 1850, Dickens worked on David
Copperfield. He then published Bleak
House (1852-53), Hard Times (1854), Little
Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859),
and Great Expectations (1861).
In the closing years of his life, Dickens worsened
his declining health by giving numerous readings.
Charles Dickens died at home on June 9, 1870.
Dickens's novels were works of social
commentary. He was a harsh critic of the poverty
and social division of the Victorian society.
Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse, and his
mother dies immediately after his birth.
Oliver’s mother has been found lying in the
streets the night before. The surgeon notices
that she is not wearing a wedding ring.
Authorities at the workhouse send Oliver to a
branch run by Mrs. Mann, who receives a sum
for each child she keeps, but she takes most of
the money and lets the children go hungry, or
even letting them die. On Oliver’s ninth birthday,
Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, informs Mrs.
Mann that Oliver is too old to stay anymore with
her and that he must return to the workhouse.
Audio books “Oliver Twist”
The narrator sarcastically comments on the
generosity and kindness of the workhouse
authorities, who offer the poor the opportunity
to starve slowly instead of starving quickly on
the streets. Oliver and the boys with him suffer
the “tortures of slow starvation.” One night, a
child tells the others that if he does not have
another bowl of gruel, he might eat one of
them. Terrified, the children cast lots to choose
someone to ask for more food for the boy.
Oliver is selected to ask for more. Mr. Bumble is
shocked and runs to transfer the horrific news
to the board. They decide to offer five pounds
to anyone who will take Oliver.
Oliver Twist by Roman Polanski (2005) –
Oliver asks for more
In the parish, Oliver has been flogged and
locked in a dark room as an example. Mr.
Gamfield, a cruel chimneysweep, offers to take
Oliver on as an apprentice. Because several boys
have died under his supervision, the board
considers five pounds too large a reward, and
they settle on just three pounds. Oliver begs that
they do not send him with this hideous man.
The magistrate refuses to give him to the man.
Mr. Sowerberry, the parish undertaker, takes
Oliver as his apprentice. Mrs. Sowerberry
remarks that Oliver is rather small. Mr. Bumble
assures her that he will grow, but she grumbles
that he will only grow by eating their food. Mrs.
Sowerberry serves Oliver the leftovers that the
dog has declined to eat. Oliver devours the food
as though it were a great feast. After he finishes,
Mrs. Sowerberry leads him to his bed, worrying
that his appetite seems so large.
In the morning he hears someone kicking at the
outside door. It turns out to be Noah Claypole,
Sowerberry’s apprentice, who tells Oliver that he is his
superior. Noah and Charlotte, the maid, tease Oliver during
Because of Oliver's melancholy appearance,
Sowerberry makes Oliver serve at children's funerals as a
mute. Noah Claypole becomes jealous. One day, he insults
Oliver’s dead mother. Oliver attacks him in a fury. Charlotte
and Mrs. Sowerberry rush to Noah’s aid, and the three of
them beat Oliver and lock him in the cellar. Noah rushes to
fetch Mr. Bumble. Mr. Bumble says that this is the result of
feeding meat to Oliver. When Sowerberry returns home,
he beats Oliver, and locks him up again. Early the next
morning, Oliver runs away.
Where are you heading Oliver?
Oliver takes the long trip to London. At the
outskirts of London, he meets a boy named
Jack Dawkins, who buys food for Oliver and
tells him about a gentleman who will let Oliver
stay in his home for free. Jack’s nickname is
“the Artful Dodger.” Dawkins takes Oliver to a
dirty neighborhood and into an old house.
There he meets Fagin and a large group of
boys. Oliver is very tired and sleeps.
The next morning, Fagin takes out a box full of
jewelry and watches. When he notices that Oliver
was observing him, Fagin grabs a knife and asks
Oliver if he has seen anything. Oliver says he was not,
and Fagin regains his kindly conduct. The Artful
Dodger returns with another boy, named Charley
Bates. Fagin asks if they worked hard that morning.
The Dodger produces two pocketbooks, and Charley
pulls out four handkerchiefs. Dodger and Charley
practice picking Fagin’s pockets. Two young women,
Bet and Nancy, drop in. Fagin lets Oliver practice
taking a handkerchief out of his pocket and gives him
a shilling for a job well done.
Finally, Fagin sends Oliver out with the Dodger
and Charley to “work.” After some time, the Dodger
notices a gentleman absorbed in reading at a
bookstall. Oliver watches with horror as Charley and
the Dodger sneak up behind the man and steal his
handkerchief. Thinking that Oliver is the thief, the
gentleman raises a cry. The Dodger and Charley see
Oliver running past them, so they join in, crying,
“Stop thief!” A large crowd joins the pursuit. A
police officer arrives and takes Oliver to the police
station. The gentleman who was robbed asks the
police officer not to hurt Oliver and follows them to
the police station.
Oliver is put in a cell before his appearance
before Mr. Fang, the judge. Mr. Brownlow, the
gentleman, says that he does not want to press
charges. Oliver faints in the courtroom, and Mr.
Fang sentences him to three months of hard
labor. The owner of the bookstall comes to the
court and tells Mr. Fang that he saw two other
boys stealing. So, Oliver is cleared of all charges.
Brownlow takes Oliver home with him.
Oliver has a fever for days. When he awakes,
Mrs. Bedwin, Brownlow’s housekeeper, is
watching over him. because she is so kind to him,
Oliver says that he feels as if his mother has come
to sit by him. Oliver’s story makes Mrs. Bedwin
weep. Oliver sees a portrait of a young woman
which affects him greatly.
Mr. Brownlow notices with astonishment that
Oliver closely resembles the young lady in the
Fagin is enraged when the Dodger and Charley
return without Oliver. Bill Sikes, a rough, cruel man,
who makes his living by robbing houses, enters. They
are determined to find Oliver before he tells about
them to the authorities. They want Nancy to go to
the police station to find out what happened to him.
Nancy goes to the police station, pretending to be
Oliver’s sister. She knows that Oliver is taken by the
gentleman home because the boy had fallen ill during
the trial. Fagin sends Charley, Jack, and Nancy to
Pentonville to find Oliver.
Fagin prepares to move to another place.
Mr. Brownlow wants to send Oliver to
the bookstall with some returned books
and a payment. Mr. Grimwig, Brownlow’s
friend, hints that Oliver might steal the
payment and the books. To prove Grimwig
wrong, Brownlow sends Oliver on the
errand. It grows dark and Oliver does not
Nancy appears in Oliver’s way to the
bookstall. She tells everyone on the street that
Oliver is her runaway brother who joined a
band of thieves, and that she is taking him
back home to their parents. Everyone ignores
Oliver’s protests. Bill Sikes joins, and he and
Nancy drag Oliver through the dark
Nancy, Sikes, and Oliver arrive at an old
house. Oliver calls for help and flees, but Sikes
threatens to set his vicious dog, Bullseye, on
him. Nancy defends Oliver, saying that they have
ruined the boy’s life like they did with her’s.
Fagin tries to beat Oliver for his escape attempt,
and Nancy attacks Fagin in a rage. Sikes catches
Nancy by the wrists, and she faints. They take
Oliver’s new fine clothes, Brownlow’s money,
and the books.
Mr. Brownlow publishes an advertisement
offering a reward for information about Oliver’s
place or his past. Mr. Bumble notices it in the
paper and quickly goes to Brownlow’s home.
Mr. Bumble tells about Oliver’s immoral
behaviour and treachery. Although Mr.
Brownlow is deeply hurt by Bumble's
information about Oliver, he believes it and says
that he never wants to hear Oliver’s name
mentioned again. Mrs. Bedwin, however,
refuses to believe Mr. Bumble.
For many days, Oliver is locked in his room.
Fagin gradually allows Oliver to spend more
time in the other boys’ company, who try to
convince him of learning to be a thief from Fagin
and talk about the profits of their type of life.
CHAPTERS 19- 21
Sikes plans to rob a house, but he needs a
small boy for the job. Fagin suggests that Oliver be
used in this job. Nancy brings Oliver to Sikes’
home. Oliver considers calling for help on the
streets, but Nancy warns him that he could get
both of them into deep trouble. They arrive at
Sikes’s residence, and Sikes shows Oliver a pistol.
He warns Oliver that if he causes any trouble, he
will kill him. At five in the morning, they prepare to
leave for the job. Sikes takes Oliver on a long
journey to the town of Shepperton. They arrive
Sikes goes with Oliver and Toby Crackit,
Sikes’ partner, to rob the house. Sikes tells
Oliver to enter the house through a tiny
window and open the street door to let them
in. Oliver plans to go upstairs and warn the
family. Sikes lowers him through the window.
However, the residents of the house awake,
and one shoots Oliver’s arm. Sikes pulls Oliver
back through the window. He flees with the
CHAPTERS 23 - 24
Old Sally, a woman under Mrs. Corney’s care, is
close to death and wishes to tell Mrs. Corney, the
matron of the workhouse, something. She
confesses that she once robbed a woman in her
care. The woman had been found pregnant on the
road, and Sally had attended the childbirth. The
woman had given Sally a gold locket, saying it
might lead to people who would care for the child.
The child’s name was Oliver. Sally dies, and Mrs.
Corney leaves. She tells the nurses who attended
Sally that Sally had nothing to say after all.
CHAPTER 25 - 26
Crackit arrives at Fagin’s. Fagin has learned
from the newspapers that the robbery has failed.
Crackit informs Fagin that Oliver has been shot and
that he and Sikes fled, leaving Oliver in a ditch.
At Sikes’s residence, Fagin finds Nancy, who
tells him that Sikes is hiding. Fagin tells her what
happened to Oliver, and Nancy cries that she hopes
Oliver is dead, because she believes that living with
Fagin is worse than death.
Monks goes to Fagin. Monks appears to have
some interest in Oliver. He was looking for Oliver
and saw him the day Oliver was arrested.
Mr. Bumble tells Mrs. Corney that he might
become master of the workhouse as the
current master is dying. He promises to marry
Oliver manages to reach the gate of the
house that Sikes took him to rob and knocks at
the door. The servants allow him in and the
niece of the house owner orders him upstairs.
Mrs. Maylie, the mistress of the house at
which Oliver is shot is a kindly, elderly woman.
Miss Rose, her niece, is a beautiful girl of
seventeen. Mr. Losberne, the local surgeon,
arrives to see the criminal. When Miss Rose sees
Oliver, she says that he cannot be a burglar. She
begs her aunt not to send the child to prison.
Oliver tells them his life story. Summoned by the
servants, the police officers arrive.
The servants tell the police that Oliver is not
one of the thieves, and the police officers leave.
Oliver slowly begins to recover. Oliver wants to tell
Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin what has happened to
him. So, Mr. Losberne takes Oliver to London to
see them, but they discover that Brownlow, Mrs.
Bedwin, and Mr. Grimwig have moved to the West
Indies. Mrs. Maylie and Miss Rose then take him to
the countryside, which helps improve Oliver’s
health greatly. Oliver learns to read and write with
the Maylies. He becomes greatly attached to Mrs
Maylie and Rose during the months they spend
Rose falls ill, and Harry Maylie, Mrs. Maylie’s
son, arrives to see her. Rose loves Harry but
cannot marry him because the uncertainty of her
One day Oliver dreams that Fagin and a man
are pointing at him and whispering. Fagin says, “It
is he, sure enough!” Oliver awakes to see Fagin
and a stranger peering through the window. They
disappear rapidly as Oliver calls for help.
Before Harry departs, he asks that Oliver
secretly write him a letter every two weeks, telling
him everything Oliver and the ladies do and say.
Mr. Bumble has married Mrs. Corney and
become master of the workhouse. One day, a
man in a dark cape offers Mr. Bumble money
for information about Old Sally, the woman
who attended Oliver’s birth. Mr. Bumble
mentions that he knows a woman who spoke
to the old woman on her deathbed. The
stranger asks that Mr. Bumble bring this
woman to see him the following evening. He
gives his name as Monks.
Mr. and Mrs. Bumble meet Monks. Mrs.
Bumble wants twenty-five pounds for her
information. Mrs. Bumble relates how Old Sally
robbed Oliver’s mother. Mrs. Bumble says she
discovered a pawnbroker’s receipt in Old Sally’s
dead hands and that she redeemed it for the
gold locket, which she hands to Monks. Inside,
he finds a wedding ring and two locks of hair. The
name “Agnes” is engraved on the ring. Monks
drops it into the river.
Monks arrives to meet Fagin alone. Nancy
follows them and listens in. Nancy goes to meet
Miss Maylie. She tells Rose that she overheard
Monks tell Fagin that he is Oliver’s brother. Monks
wants Oliver’s identity to remain unknown so that
Monks himself can keep their family’s inheritance to
himself. Monks would kill Oliver. He has also
promised to pay Fagin if he finds Oliver and brings
him back. Rose offers to help Nancy leave her life of
crime, but Nancy replies that she cannot because
she loves Sikes. She refuses Rose’s money. Before
leaving, Nancy informs Rose that she can be found
on London Bridge between eleven and twelve every
Rose takes Oliver to Mr. Brownlow’s house.
She tells Brownlow Nancy’s story. They decide to
contact Nancy the following Sunday on London
Bridge. Fagin is visiting Sikes when Nancy tries to
leave for London Bridge at eleven on Sunday.
Fagin sends Noah Claypole, who had run away
from Sowerberry and joined the gang, behind her.
Nancy meets Mr. Brownlow and Rose on London
Bridge. Noah hears Nancy tell them when and
where they can find Monks. They hope to catch
Monks and know about Oliver from him. Nancy
cries violently and then heads for home. Noah
hurries to Fagin’s house.
Fagin and Noah tell Sikes about the details of
Nancy’s trip. In a rage, Sikes rushes home and
beats Nancy to death while she begs for mercy.
In the morning, he flees London into the
countryside. He then decides to return. He tries
to drown Bull’s-eye because he is afraid that his
dog, will give him away, but it escapes.
With the help of two other men, Mr. Brownlow
manages to kidnap Monks and take him to his
home. Brownlow confronts Monks and wrings the
truth about Oliver from him. Monks real name turns
out to be Edward Leeford and that he is Oliver’s half
brother. Their father, Mr. Leeford, was unhappily
married to a wealthy woman and had an affair with
Oliver’s mother, Agnes Fleming. Monks has been
pursuing Oliver all along in the hopes of ensuring
that his half-brother is deprived of his share of the
Mr. Brownlow forces Monks to sign over Oliver’s
share to Oliver. Moreover, it is discovered that Rose
is Agnes’s younger sister, hence Oliver’s aunt.
Followed by the police and a huge crowd of
people, Sikes accidently hangs himself with a rope
that tries to use to escape. Fagin is tied and hung
for his crimes.
Harry and Rose get married. Mr. Brownlow
adopts Oliver, and they and the Maylies retire to the