CHARLES DICKENS OLIVER TWIST
THE PLOT - SHORT PLOT SUMMARY (Synopsis)
Oliver Twist is born an orphan when his pretty vagrant mother dies in a parish workhouse to the annoyance
of Bumble the beadle. Oliver is raised by parish charity, unloved, underfed, and overworked. At the age of
nine, after he dares to ask for seconds at dinner one night, he is sold as an apprentice to a local undertaker,
Mr. Sowerberry. Taunted by another apprentice, Noah Claypole, about his unmarried dead mother, Oliver
valiantly gets into a fistfight and is eventually locked in the cellar for punishment. Then, taking matters into
his own hands, Oliver runs away to London.
The first person he meets in London is the enthusiastic Artful Dodger, who offers him a home with a
"gentleman" named Fagin and his group of boys. Oliver is happy there, until he discovers to his horror that
they're thieves. One day, while being trained by other boys, Oliver is falsely arrested for picking an elderly
gentleman's pocket. In the courtroom, however, Oliver collapses. He attracts the pity of his accuser, Mr.
Brownlow, who takes him home. Oliver gets his first taste of kindness and wealth there as he is nursed back
The first time Oliver leaves the house, Fagin's gang kidnaps him so he won't give evidence against them.
Back in the London slums, Oliver earns the affections of a young prostitute named Nancy who sticks up for
Oliver when Fagin and her lover, Bill Sikes, try to abuse him.
Unfortunately for Oliver, he's just the right size to help Sikes commit a robbery, and he is taken along on a
dangerous job. But, Oliver is wounded in the attempt and is taken in by the Maylies, the people Sikes wanted
In the idyllic months that follow, Oliver stays with Mrs. Maylie and her niece Rose and grows to love them.
He's sad that their attempts to find Mr. Brownlow are unsuccessful, but otherwise things seem perfect. Rose
falls seriously ill but recovers. Rose has other troubles, however; her romance with Henry Maylie is impeded
by the fact that, because she thinks she is illegitimate, she's unwilling to damage his political career by
Safe as he feels, Oliver dreams one night of his troubled past. When he wakes, the evil Fagin and an
unknown companion are lurking outside the window.
One of Fagin's cohorts, a grim fellow named Monks, visits the Bumbles to buy the evidence of Oliver's
parentage-a locket left by his mother. Monks throws the locket into a river, then presses Fagin to recapture
Oliver and make a thief of him.
Even though Oliver has been away, Nancy often thinks about him. When she overhears conversations
between Fagin and his strange accomplice, Monks, she becomes worried that Oliver is in danger. She drugs
Sikes and seeks out Rose Maylie who happens to be passing through London. Nancy reveals that Monks is
Oliver's half brother, and that, in order to keep an inheritance for himself, Monks may cause harm to Oliver.
Rose finally finds Mr. Brownlow and enlists his help. They meet Nancy on London Bridge to learn more
about Monks. When they offer Nancy refuge, she refuses, insisting that she must go home to Sikes, whom
she loves even though he is brutal to her. What she doesn't know is that suspicious Fagin has had her
followed and that her conversation has been overheard. Angered by Nancy's betrayal, Fagin incites Sikes to
such fury that he beats Nancy to death. Brownlow, using Nancy's information, locates Monks. Evil Monks is,
ironically, the son of Brownlow's best friend, and Oliver Twist is his illegitimate younger brother. Their father,
who hated Monks' mother and loved Oliver's, wrote a will leaving most of his money to the younger son,
Oliver-unless he turned out to be a criminal. That is why Monks plotted with Fagin to make Oliver a thief.
After wandering around for two days, Sikes is finally tracked down and surrounded by police in a hideout. He
hangs himself accidentally while trying to escape. The threat to Oliver is eliminated.
Brownlow forces Monks to reveal the rest of his information: not only is Oliver entitled to a fortune, but his
mother was Rose Maylie's sister! All at once, Oliver has money and a family too. The questions about Rose's
parents are answered, and she can marry Henry Maylie. Fagin is arrested, convicted, and hanged. His gang
is scattered. Monks goes off to America, where he later dies in prison. Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver and they
all live happily in the county.
Underline the parts of the plot that are not in Roman Polanski’s film.