Chapter summaries

Chapter 1

Treats of the place where Oliver Twist was born, and of the circumstances attending his birth.

Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist opens with a description of the birth of the title character. Oliver Twist’s mother dies giving birth to him in a workhouse.

Chapter 2

Treats of Oliver Twist’s growth, education, and board.

As a baby, Oliver is sent to a home for young orphans, supervised by a cruel old woman. When Oliver Twist turns nine years old, Mr Bumble, the beadle, takes him to the workhouse, where poor people are nearly starved because they are only allowed to eat gruel

The boys in the workhouse are extremely hungry and they persuade Oliver to ask for more food. Oliver is punished and the workhouse board members decide to offer him as an apprentice

Chapter 3 

Relates how Oliver Twist was very near getting a place, which would not have been a sinecure.

A chimney sweep who has already caused the deaths of several young boys asks to take on Oliver as his apprentice. However, when Oliver sees the chimney sweep, he is frightened and begs not to go with him. The board members send him back to the workhouse. 

Chapter 4

Oliver, being offered another place, makes his first entry into public life.

Mr Sowerberry, the local undertaker, offers to take on Oliver as an apprentice. The undertaker’s wife gives him some food left over by the dog and gives him a bed among the coffins in the workshop. 

Chapter 5

Oliver mingles with his new associates. Going to a funeral for the first time, he forms an unfavorable notion of his master’s business.

The next morning, Oliver meets Noah Claypole, a cruel boy who works for Mr Sowerberry. Mr Sowerberry and Oliver then visit the house of a very poor woman who has died of illness and starvation. The following day, they return for the funeral, which is basic and lacks dignity. Oliver does not like his new trade. 

Chapter 6

Oliver, being goaded by the taunts of Noah, rouses into action, and rather astonishes him. 

Noah Claypole continues to be cruel to Oliver, as do the servant girl Charlotte and Mrs Sowerberry. One evening, Noah begins to taunt Oliver about his dead mother, telling him that she was a bad person and would have ended up in prison if she had not died. Oliver is angry and attacks Noah. The others manage to lock Oliver in the cellar, and Noah runs off to fetch Mr Bumble.

Chapter 7

Oliver continues refractory. 

Noah tells Mr Bumble that Oliver has tried to murder him, Charlotte, and Mrs Sowerberry. Bumble tells Mrs Sowerberry that Oliver’s bad behavior is because she has fed him more than a poor person like Oliver should eat . Oliver is beaten by both Mr Bumble and Mr Sowerberry. That night, he decides to escape. 

Chapter 8

Oliver walks to London. He encounters on the road a strange sort of young gentleman. 

Oliver decides to walk 70 miles to London, where he believes Mr Bumble and Mr Sowerberry will never find him. After several days, he arrives cold, tired, and hungry. He meets a boy about his own age who calls himself the Artful Dodger. The Dodger gives Oliver a meal and invites him to come home with him. 

The house is dirty, in a rundown part of town. The Dodger introduces Oliver to Fagin, an old man, who welcomes him and gives him something to eat. 

Chapter 9

Containing further particulars concerning the pleasant old gentleman, and his hopeful pupils. 

The next morning, when Fagin thinks Oliver is asleep, he examines a secret stash of jewelry. He is angry when he realizes Oliver has seen the jewels and hides them away. The Dodger returns with another boy, Charley Bates, and they hand Fagin some pocketbooks and handkerchiefs. They play a game where they try to steal from Fagin without him noticing. Fagin then invites Oliver to try. 

Chapter 10

Oliver becomes better acquainted with the characters of hi...

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