In the morning, Noah Claypole, Mr. Sowerberry’s apprentice, wakes Oliver. Noah and Charlotte, the maid, taunt Oliver during breakfast. Oliver accompanies Sowerberry to prepare for a pauper’s burial. The husband of the deceased delivers a tearful tirade against his wife’s death. She has starved to death, and although he once tried to beg for her, the authorities sent him to prison for the offense. The dead woman’s mother begs for some bread and a cloak to wear for the funeral.
At the graveyard before the funeral, some ragged boys jump back and forth over the coffin to amuse themselves. Mr. Bumble beats a few of the boys. The clergyman performs the service in four minutes. Mr. Bumble quickly ushers the grieving family out of the cemetery, and Mr. Sowerberry takes the cloak away from the dead woman’s mother. Oliver decides that he is not at all fond of the undertaking business.
A measles epidemic arrives, and Oliver gains extensive experience in undertaking. His master dresses him well so that he can march in the processions. Oliver notes that the relatives of deceased, wealthy, elderly people quickly overcome their grief after the funeral.
Noah becomes increasingly jealous of Oliver’s speedy advancement. One day, he insults Oliver’s dead mother. Oliver attacks him in a fit of rage. 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, sobbing so that his injuries from his confrontation with Oliver appear much worse than they are. Mr. Bumble informs Mrs. Sowerberry that feeding meat to Oliver gives him more spirit than is appropriate to his station in life. Still enraged, Oliver kicks at the cellar door. Sowerberry returns home, beats Oliver, and locks him up again. Oliver’s rage dissolves into tears. Early the next morning, Oliver runs away. On his way out of town, he passes the workhouse where he used to live and sees an old friend, Dick, in the yard. Dick vows not to tell anyone about Oliver’s flight and bids him a warm farewell.
Oliver decides to walk the seventy miles to London. Hunger, cold, and fatigue weaken him over the next seven days. In one village, signs warn that beggars will be thrown in jail. Finally, Oliver limps into a small town just outside London and collapses in a doorway. He is approached by a boy about his own age named Jack Dawkins, who dresses and acts like a grown man. Jack purchases a large lunch for Oliver and informs him that he knows a “genelman” in London who will let Oliver stay in his home for free. Oliver learns that Jack’s nickname is “the Artful Dodger.” He guesses from the Dodger’s appearance that his way of life is immoral. He plans to ingratiate himself with the gentleman in London and then end all association with Jack.
This is my favourite ever book!
9 out of 14 people found this helpful
Oh, Dickens, I expected much more from you: bad men go to prison or die, and good men live happily ever after with much money? I just... I don't know. I wanted something more.
3 out of 9 people found this helpful
Poor Oliver I feel so bad for him.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful