Short summary - Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress - Charles Dickens

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress
Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse. His mother managed to cast a glance at him and died; Before the boy was nine years old, he could not find out who his parents were.

Not a single affectionate word, not a single affectionate glance had ever illuminated his dull infant years, he knew only hunger, beatings, bullying and deprivation. From the workhouse, Oliver is apprenticed to the undertaker; there he encounters an orphanage boy, Noé Kleipol, who, being older and stronger, constantly subjected Oliver to humiliation. He meekly demolishes everything until one day Noe spoke badly of his mother - this Oliver could not endure and beat off a stronger and stronger, but cowardly offender. He is severely punished, and he flees from the undertaker.

Seeing the London signpost, Oliver heads there. He sleeps in haystacks, suffers from hunger, cold and fatigue. On the seventh day after an escape in the town of Barnet, Oliver met a tattered man of his age, who introduced himself as Jack Dawkins, nicknamed the Artful Dodger, fed him and promised in London overnight and patronage. The artful Dodger brought Oliver to the buyer of stolen goods, the godfather of the London thieves and fraudsters to the Jew Fagin - it was his patronage that was meant. Fagin promises to teach Oliver the craft and give work, and while the boy spends many days mating the tags from the handkerchiefs that young thieves bring to Fagin. When he first goes «to work» and sees firsthand how his tricks Dodgy Dodger and Charlie Bates pull a handkerchief out of a certain gentleman’s pocket, he runs in horror, they grab him like a thief and drag him to the judge. Fortunately, the gentleman refuses the lawsuit and, full of sympathy for the baited child, takes him to him. Oliver has been sick for a long time, Mr. Brownlow and his housekeeper, Mrs. Badwin, nursing him, marveling at his resemblance to the portrait of a young beautiful woman hanging in the living room. Mr. Brownlow wants to take Oliver to be raised.

However, Fagin, fearing that Oliver will bring the representatives of the law to his trail, hunts down and kidnaps him. He strives at all costs to make Oliver a thief and achieve complete submission to the boy. For the robbery of the house Fagin had observed, where he was very attracted by silverware, the performer of this action, Bill Sykes, who had recently returned from prison, needed a «lean boy» who, if thrust through the window, would open the door for the robbers. The choice falls on Oliver.

Oliver is determined to raise the alarm in the house as soon as he is there, so as not to participate in the crime. But he did not have time: the house was guarded, and the boy, half-shoved through the window, was immediately wounded in the arm. Sykes pulls him bleeding and takes him away, but, having heard the chase, throws him into the ditch, not knowing for sure whether he is alive or dead. Waking up, Oliver reaches the porch of the house; Mrs. Mayley, her inmates, and her niece, Rose, put him to bed and call a doctor, abandoning the idea of giving the poor child to the police.

Meanwhile, in the workhouse where Oliver was born, a poor old woman dies, who once looked after his mother, and when she died, robbed her. Old Sally calls overseer Mrs. Roots and repents that she stole the golden thing that the young woman asked her to save, because this thing might make people feel better about her child. Without agreement, old Sally died, passing Mrs. Roots a mortgage receipt.

Fagin is very concerned about the absence of Sykes and the fate of Oliver. Having lost control of himself, he inadvertently shouts in the presence of Nancy, Sykes' girlfriend, that Oliver is worth hundreds of pounds, and mentions some kind of testament. Nancy, pretending to be drunk, lulls him to vigilance, sneaks up behind him and eavesdrops on his conversation with the mysterious stranger Monks. It turns out that Fagin stubbornly turns Oliver into a thief by order of a stranger, and he is very afraid that Oliver is killed and the thread will lead to him - he needs the boy to become a thief. Fagin promises to find Oliver and deliver to Monks - dead or alive.

Oliver is slowly recovering in the house of Mrs. Mayley and Rose, surrounded by the sympathy and care of these ladies and their family doctor, Dr. Losburn. Without hiding, he tells them his story. alas, it is not confirmed by anything! When, at the boy’s request, the doctor travels with him to pay a visit to Dr. Brownlow, it turns out that he, having handed over the house, went to the West Indies; when Oliver recognizes the house by the road where Sykes led him before the robbery, Dr. Losburn discovers that the description of the rooms and the owner does not match ... But this does not make Oliver worse off. With the advent of spring, both ladies move to rest in the village and take a boy with them. There, he once encounters a disgusting stranger who showered him with curses and rolled on the ground in a fit. Oliver does not attach importance to this meeting, considering him crazy. But after some time, the face of a stranger next to Fagin's face seems to him in the window. Households ran to the cry of the boy, but the search yielded no results.

Monks, meanwhile, does not waste time in vain. In the town where Oliver was born, he finds the possessor of the secret of old Sally, Mrs. Roots - by this time she managed to get married and become Mrs. Bumble. For twenty-five pounds, Monks buys from her a small purse, which old Sally removed from Oliver's mother's body. In the wallet lay a gold medallion, and in it were two curls and an engagement ring; the name Agnes was engraved on the inside of the medallion, a place was left for the surname and a date stood - about a year before Oliver’s birth. Monx throws this wallet with all its contents into a stream where it can no longer be found. When he returns, he tells Fagin about this, and Nancy again eavesdrops on them. Shocked by what she heard and tormented by her conscience because she helped return Oliver Fagin by tricking him away from Mr. Brownlow, she, having lulled Sykes with opium, goes to where Lady Mailey stopped, and tells Rose everything she overhears: that if Oliver is again captured, then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief, that the only evidence that identifies the boy’s identity, they rest on the bottom of the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. where Lady Mailey stopped, and gives Rose everything she overhears: that if Oliver is again captured, then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief, that the only evidence that identifies the boy’s identity rests at the bottom the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. where Lady Mailey stopped, and gives Rose everything she overhears: that if Oliver is again captured, then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief, that the only evidence that identifies the boy’s identity rests at the bottom the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. and she gives everything she overhears: that if Oliver is captured again, then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief, that the only evidence that identifies the boy’s identity rests on the bottom of the river, which although Monks and got Oliver’s money, but it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all the city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. and she gives everything she overhears: that if Oliver is captured again, then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief, that the only evidence that identifies the boy’s identity rests on the bottom of the river, which although Monks and got Oliver’s money, but it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all the city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief that the only evidence that identifies the boy rests on the bottom of the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to smuggle the boy through all city prisons and pull up the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. then Fagin will receive a certain amount, which will increase many times if Fagin makes him a thief that the only evidence that identifies the boy rests on the bottom of the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to smuggle the boy through all city prisons and pull up the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. the identifying boys rest on the bottom of the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. the identifying boys rest on the bottom of the river, that although Monks got Oliver’s money, it would be better to get it in another way - to drag the boy through all city prisons and pull him up to the gallows; at the same time, Monks called Oliver his brother and was glad that he had turned out to be with Lady Maily, for they would have given away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. that he appeared to be with Lady Maily, for they would give away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge. that he appeared to be with Lady Maily, for they would give away many hundreds of pounds in order to find out the origin of Oliver. Nancy asks not to give her away, refuses to accept the money and any help and returns to Sykes, promising every Sunday at eleven to walk along the London Bridge.

Rose is looking for someone to ask for advice. A happy occasion helps: Oliver saw Mr. Brownlow on the street and found out his address. They immediately go to Mr. Brownlow. After listening to Rose, he decides to devote also Dr. Losburne to his case, and then his friend Mr. Grimwig and son Mrs. Mayley Harry origin - she is the adoptive niece of Mrs. Mayley). Having discussed the situation, the council decides, until Sunday, to ask Nancy to show them Monks, or at least to describe in detail his appearance.

They waited for Nancy only after Sunday: the first time Sykes did not let her out of the house. At the same time, Fagin, seeing the girl’s persistent desire to leave, suspected something was wrong and ordered Noe Kleipol to follow her, who by this time, having robbed his undertaker, had fled to London and fell into the arms of Fagin. Fagin, having heard Noe’s report, became furious: he thought that Nancy just made a new friend, but the matter was much more serious. Having decided to punish the girl with the wrong hands, he tells Sykes that Nancy betrayed everyone, of course, without specifying that she talked only about Monx and refused money and hope for an honest life in order to return to Sykes. He calculated correctly: Sykes was furious. But underestimated the power of this rage: Bill Sykes brutally murdered Nancy.


Meanwhile, Mr. Brownlow does not waste time: he conducts his own investigation. After receiving a description of Monks from Nancy, he restores the full picture of the drama that began many years ago. The father of Edwin Lieford (such is Monks's real name) and Oliver was a longtime friend of Mr. Brownlow. He was unhappy in marriage, his son from an early age showed vicious inclinations - and he broke up with his first family. He fell in love with the young Agnes Fleming, with whom he was happy, but business called him abroad. In Rome, he fell ill and died. His wife and son, fearing to miss the inheritance, also arrived in Rome. Among the papers, they found an envelope addressed to Mr. Brownlow, in which there was a letter for Agnes and a will. In the letter, he begged to forgive him and to wear a medallion and a ring as a sign of this. In the will, he allocated eight hundred pounds to his wife and eldest son, and Agnes Fleming left the rest of the property to the child if he was born alive and reaches adulthood, and the girl inherits the money unconditionally, and the boy only on the condition that he does not tarnish his name with any shameful act. Monks's mother burned this will, but kept the letter in order to disgrace the Agnes family. After her visit, under the yoke of shame, the girl's father changed her name and fled with both daughters (the second was quite a baby) to the most remote corner of Wales. Soon he was found in bed dead - Agnes left home, he could not find her, decided that she committed suicide, and his heart was broken. The younger sister Agnes was first taken up by the peasants, and then she became Mrs. Maily's adoptive niece - it was Rose. moreover, the girl inherits the money unconditionally, and the boy only on the condition that he does not tarnish his name with any shameful act. Monks's mother burned this will, but kept the letter in order to disgrace the Agnes family. After her visit, under the yoke of shame, the girl's father changed her name and fled with both daughters (the second was quite a baby) to the most remote corner of Wales. Soon he was found in bed dead - Agnes left home, he could not find her, decided that she committed suicide, and his heart was broken. The younger sister Agnes was first taken up by the peasants, and then she became Mrs. Maily's adoptive niece - it was Rose. moreover, the girl inherits the money unconditionally, and the boy only on the condition that he does not tarnish his name with any shameful act. Monks's mother burned this will, but kept the letter in order to disgrace the Agnes family. After her visit, under the yoke of shame, the girl's father changed her name and fled with both daughters (the second was quite a baby) to the most remote corner of Wales. Soon he was found in bed dead - Agnes left home, he could not find her, decided that she committed suicide, and his heart was broken. The younger sister Agnes was first taken up by the peasants, and then she became Mrs. Maily's adoptive niece - it was Rose. After her visit, under the yoke of shame, the girl's father changed her name and fled with both daughters (the second was quite a baby) to the most remote corner of Wales. Soon he was found in bed dead - Agnes left home, he could not find her, decided that she committed suicide, and his heart was broken. The younger sister Agnes was first taken up by the peasants, and then she became Mrs. Maily's adoptive niece - it was Rose. After her visit, under the yoke of shame, the girl's father changed her name and fled with both daughters (the second was quite a baby) to the most remote corner of Wales. Soon he was found in bed dead - Agnes left home, he could not find her, decided that she committed suicide, and his heart was broken. The younger sister Agnes was first taken up by the peasants, and then she became Mrs. Maily's adoptive niece - it was Rose.

At eighteen, Monks fled from his mother, robbing her, and there was no sin that he would not indulge. But before she died, she found him and told this secret. Monks drafted and began to carry out his diabolical plan, which at the cost of life prevented Nancy.

Presenting irrefutable evidence, Mr. Brownlow forces Monks to fulfill his father’s will and leave England.

So Oliver found his aunt, Rose resolved her doubts about her background and finally said «yes» to Harry, who preferred the life of a village priest to a brilliant career, and the Mayley family and Dr. Losburn made close friends with Mr. Grimwig and Mr. Brownlow, who adopted Oliver.

Bill Sykes died, tormented by an unclean conscience, they did not have time to arrest him; and Fagin was arrested and executed.