Young orphan Oliver Twist has been raised in the bleak world of a Victorian workhouse, his parentage unknown. When he dares ask for more gruel at mealtime, the parish beadle, Mr. Bumble, sells him as child labour to a local undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. Bullied by Sowerberry’s apprentice, Noah Claypole, Oliver runs away and heads for London.
En route, he meets the Artful Dodger, one of a gang of child pickpockets run by the criminal mastermind Fagin. Naively supposing himself to have found a friend, Oliver accompanies the Dodger to Fagin’s lair, where he is quickly put to work learning the tricks of the trade.
On his first expedition with the gang, not fully understanding the nature of the
proceedings, he is arrested; however, the intended victim, Mr. Brownlow, recognizing that Oliver is no thief by nature and seeing in him some resemblance to his late daughter, takes the boy into his own care.
Oliver seems to have found a safe haven – until Fagin dispatches his brutish accomplice, Bill Sikes, and Sikes’s abused girlfriend, Nancy, to kidnap him back again. Nancy, however, makes a brave decision to defy Sikes and Fagin, in order to restore Oliver to Mr. Brownlow – and, as it turns out, to the long-lost family he has never known.
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