Summary: Chapter 17
Mr. Brownlow publishes an advertisement offering a reward of five guineas for information about Oliver’s whereabouts or his past. Mr. Bumble notices it in the paper while traveling to London. He quickly goes to Brownlow’s home. Mr. Bumble states that, since birth, Oliver has displayed nothing but “treachery, ingratitude, and malice.” Bumble tells Brownlow that Oliver attacked Noah Claypole without provocation, and Brownlow decides Oliver is nothing but an impostor. Mrs. Bedwin refuses to believe Mr. Bumble.
Summary: Chapter 18
Fagin leaves Oliver locked up in the house for days. During the daytime, Oliver has no human company. The Dodger and Charley ask him why he does not just give himself over to Fagin, since the money comes quickly and easily in their “jolly life.” Fagin gradually allows Oliver to spend more time in the other boys’ company. Sometimes, Fagin himself regales his crew with funny stories of robberies he committed in his youth. Oliver often laughs at the stories despite himself. Fagin’s plan has been to isolate Oliver until he comes to be so grateful for any human contact that he will do whatever Fagin asks.
Summary: Chapter 19
Sikes plans to rob a house, but he needs a small boy for the job. Fagin offers Oliver’s services. Sikes warns Oliver that he will kill him if he shows any signs of hesitation during the robbery. Sikes arranges to have Nancy deliver Oliver to the scene. Fagin watches Nancy for any signs of hesitation. Despite her earlier protests against trapping Oliver in a life of crime, she betrays no further misgivings.
Summary: Chapter 20
Fagin informs Oliver that he will be taken to Sikes’s residence that night. He gives Oliver a book to read. Oliver waits, shivering in horror at the book’s bloody tales of famous criminals and murderers. Nancy arrives to take him away. Oliver considers calling for help on the streets. Reading his thoughts on his face, Nancy warns him that he could get both of them into deep trouble. They arrive at Sikes’s residence, and Sikes shows Oliver a pistol. He warns Oliver that if he causes any trouble, he will kill him. At five in the morning, they prepare to leave for the job.
Summary: Chapter 21
Sikes takes Oliver on a long journey to the town of Shepperton. They arrive after dark.
Summary: Chapter 22
Sikes leads Oliver to a ruinous house where his partners in crime, Toby Crackit and Barney, are waiting. At half past one, Sikes and Crackit set out with Oliver. They arrive at the targeted house and climb over the wall surrounding it. Only then does Oliver realize that he will be made to participate in a robbery. Horrified, he begs Sikes to let him go. Sikes curses and prepares to shoot him, but Crackit knocks the pistol away, saying that gunfire will draw attention.
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