A classic story of an orphan boy.The story starts in the workhouse where Oliver Twist is born. He is the son of an unknown, unmarried pauper woman who dies soon after his birth. Suffering from starvation, the inmates decide to ask for more food, and after drawing lots, this task falls to Oliver, with disastrous results. Locked up in solitary confinement for a while, he is then apprenticed to Mr Sowerberry the undertaker to assist with coffin-making.Oliver begins his new life working and sleeping amongst the coffins. He is bullied and taunted by the boy, Noah, and when, after several months of this misery, Oliver loses his temper and attacks Noah after he insults Oliver’s mother, he is punished severely. Unable to bear this life any longer, Oliver escapes into the night.He walks 70 miles to London, and by the time he reaches the outskirts of the city he is exhausted and hungry. He attracts the eye of another boy who approaches him and feeds him with bread, ham and beer and suggests that he can stay for free with a ‘’spectable old genelman’ in London. The boy introduces himself as Jack Dawkins, ‘The artful Dodger’. Jack takes Oliver to a house in a dirty, poor area of London, where he introduces him to an old Jewish man by the name of Fagin. Oliver’s innocence and naivety prevent him from understanding the true nature of Fagin’s business for a while, but when Oliver asks if he can go out to work with the other boys, Fagin agrees, and he sets out with the Dodger and another boy called Charley Bates. Oliver is surprised when he sees the boys pilfering from market stalls, but when he sees the Dodger draw a pocket handkerchief from a rich old gentleman’s pocket, he is horrified, and the truth of Fagin’s work occurs to him for the first time. Confused and stunned, he is still standing when the gentleman turns and finds his handkerchief gone. Oliver runs too late, and a crowd gathers to run after the ‘thief’. The two other boys disappear, and Oliver is brought down and caught.The gentleman, Mr Brownlow, turns out to be a kind man – and seems to see something in Oliver’s face that reminds him of someone. Oliver faints in the magistrate’s office and when a witness comes forward to say that the boy is innocent, Mr Brownlow decides to take him under his wing. For the first time in his life Oliver is cared for in great comfort. He is looked after by Mr Brownlow’s housekeeper, Mrs Bedwin and becomes fascinated by the portrait of a beautiful woman. Mr Brownlow notices a resemblance between Oliver and the portrait.Meanwhile, Fagin and his associate, Bill Sikes, discuss what is to be done about the disappearance of Oliver.
Fearing that he will lead the police to them, they persuade Bill’s mistress, Nancy, to help them to get Oliver back. This she does, while Oliver is on an errand to return some books of Mr Brownlow’s. He is delivered into the hands of Bill Sikes. Returned to Fagin’s house, he is heartbroken to think that Brownlow will imagine that he has stolen the books and the money. Sikes and Fagin treat him cruelly, but Nancy tries to defend him and stands up to them both, but is cast aside by Sikes.In the meantime, Brownlow has published an advertisement with a reward of 5 guineas for anyone who can provide information about the boy. This is answered by the old workhouse beadle, Mr Bumble, who gives Brownlow the story of Oliver’s upbringing – but describes Oliver as cowardly, vicious and untrustworthy. Sadly, Brownlow believes him, and says he never wants to hear the child’s name again.Fagin and Sikes hatch a plan to rob Mr Brownlow’s house, making Oliver help them by getting into the house through a small window. They are discovered and Oliver is left lying in a ditch, injured. He is looked after by some kindly people and spends some time living in a quiet village with Rose Maylie.Eventually, Oliver is reunited with Mr Brownlow, after Nancy has revealed to Rose how Oliver had been recaptured before and that she has discovered that the criminal associate of Fagin’s, Monks, is Oliver’s half-brother. Brownlow is determined to find out about Oliver’s parentage through Monks. Nancy has promised further information, but on the night when she meets Brownlow to tell him about Monks, she is discovered by Sikes, and he brutally murders her. Sikes goes on the run but dies in the attempt to flee from the crowd. Oliver finally learns the truth of his parentage, the identity of the woman in the portrait and his family connection to the people who have been so kind to him. Fagin meets his inevitable fate, the boys are dispersed, and Brownlow adopts Oliver as his own son.