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Oliver Twist By Charles Dickens: A Short Book Review

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This story is set in the perspective of a child named “Oliver Twist”. He suffers an unfortunate life as his mother dies upon childbirth and was sent to a “farm” for young orphaned children.

Upon working, Oliver feels the need to request more food. This request was faced with an undesirable income as it angers the house board and beadle, Mr. Bumble. He was so fierce for this request that he decided to foist Oliver off as an apprentice to some workers in the village. Eventually, Oliver is taken up by a coffin-maker named Sowerberry. He is given the job of “mute mourner” which required him to sleep at night among the coffins. After a fight with another colleague Noah, regarding his mother, Oliver took the choice to run away to London, to make his fortune.

On the outskirts of London, he is approached by a very well-dressed young boy as known as the “Artful Dodger”, a thief that is currently an employee of a crime boss named Fagin. Oliver knew he was desperate for help and food, and follows the Dodger to his house. Upon entrance, he meets Fagen who immediately employs Oliver to join Dodger and Bates, in robbing a man (Mr. Brownlow) of his handkerchief. Due to the fact that the duo, Dodger and Bates were experienced in this area, they were quick to hide and were successful in this robbery. Detrimentally for Oliver (an innocent onlooker), he was spotted running away (wanting to escape from his role in crime). Mr. Brownlow immediately suspected Oliver and hauled him to jail. Oliver was released into Mr. Brownlow’s custody after the realization that Oliver did not partake in the crime. Mr. Brownlow nurses Oliver for some time then makes a promise to Oliver that he’d educate him properly. Shortly after, he was given the job to return books and money to a bookseller, and he never returned to Mr. Brownlow’s home. This causes a huge misunderstanding believing that Oliver has once again, taken the money and ran away. But in reality, he was picked up by Nancy, an associate of Fagin’s, and taken back to the criminal gang. (Criminal gang of Fagin, Dodger, Bates & Nancy).

The following chapters of this novel recount Brownlow’s multiple attempts to find Oliver and many of Oliver’s attempts to escape Fagin, his criminal associate Sikes and the other boys. Fagin demands Oliver to accompany Sikes and another thief known as Toby Crackit in a house-breaking in a country village, which goes awry. Oliver is shot in the arm in the attempt, by a servant named Giles of the Maylie house (the house being broken into) Oliver nearly dies but walks back to the house the very next morning and is nursed back to health by Rose, Mrs. Maylie and a local doctor named Lorsborne. After having a brief conversation, Lorsbone takes Oliver back into London to find Mr. Brownlow, before discovering that he has gone to visit the West Indies. Oliver is crestfallen but is happy nonetheless with the Maylies, and is educated properly by an old man in the Maylies’ village. The trip continues in London, Rose is visited by Nancy (part of the criminal gang), who wishes to come clean about her involvement in Oliver’s oppression and Oliver finds that Brownlow is back in the city, having returned from the West Indies.

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During this, Mrs. Corney, mistress of the workhouse, receives a package from a woman named Old Sally, which Sally, in turn, received from Oliver’s mother upon her death. This package marks an important point in the story as it contains Oliver’s family history, which is of interest to a friend and shadowy associate of Fagin’s named Monks. Nancy proceeds to meet with Rose and Brownlow in secret with regards to Oliver’s parentage Noah, sent to spy on Nancy, overhears the conversation and reports it to Fagin. After some major misunderstanding, Fagin tells Sikes that Nancy peached on the whole gang, despite the fact that she didn’t incriminate Fagin or Sikes to Brownlow. This results in Sikes, raging, kills nancy, then goes on the lam with his dog.

The book follows along stating that Brownlow realizes that he recognized Oliver as representing the picture of a woman in his parlor, and also recognized a man he comes to realize is “Monks”. Brownlow then pieces the mystery together and solves the case. Oliver’s original father is the Monk’s father, and the Monk’s mother defrauded Oliver’s mother, an unwed woman named Agnes, of the inheritance Oliver’s father, Edwin intended to leave to Oliver and Agnes. Monks make his intent clear and wishes, to destroy the facts of Oliver’s parentage in order to keep all the inheritance to himself. But Brownlow, seeing the heaviness of the situation, confronts Monks with the facts, and Monks agrees finally, to sign an affidavit admitting his part in the conspiracy to defraud Oliver.

This book continues and reveals that all the members of Fagin’s gang are all caught: Noah, Charlotte, his partner the Dodger, and Fagin himself. Sikes dies, by accident, attempting to escape a mob that has come to kill him following Nancy's death. Brownlow manages to secure half of Oliver's inheritance for Oliver and gives the other half to Monks, who spend it in the New World on criminal activity. Rose Maylie, long in love with her cousin Harry, eventually marries him, after Harry purposefully lowers his social station to correspond with Rose's Rose was said to be of a blighted family, and in the novel's final surprise, this 'blight' is revealed: Rose's sister was Agnes, meaning that Rose is Oliver's aunt.

At the novel's end, Oliver is restored to his rightful lineage and is adopted by Brownlow. The pair live in the country with Harry, who has become a parson, and Rose, along with Osborne and Mrs. Maylie. Oliver can, at last, be educated in the tranquility and manner he deserves, as the son of a gentleman.

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