Oliver Twist is one of Charles Dickens’ more famous novels, first published beginning in 1837. Concerning the adventures of an orphan boy caught in the London criminal underworld, Oliver Twist provides social commentary on some of the deplorable conditions experienced by the poor in the early years of the Industrial Revolution.
Oliver Twist is an orphan, raised in a workhouse under England’s Poor Laws. The Beadle Bumble and his wife run the workhouse. Cruelly treated, he runs away to London, but meets up with the Artful Dodger, a pickpocket. The Dodger introduces the boy to Fagin, who runs a gang of boys. Rescued by Mr. Brownlow, Oliver is soon recaptured by Fagin and returned to a life of crime.
Forced into a robbery, Oliver is wounded and then cared for by the kindly Miss Rose and Mrs. Maylie. Fagin, assisted by Bill Sikes, still wants to control Oliver, but their plans are overheard by Nancy, who warns Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Maylie. Bill Sikes beats Nancy to death for this, but is accidentally hanged while trying to flee the police.
In the end, it is revealed that Oliver is secretly Mrs. Maylie’s long-lost nephew. Fagin is arrested and hanged at Newgate Prison, while Oliver lives happily ever after with Mr. Brownlow. Mr. and Mrs. Bumble are forced into poverty, and must work at the poorhouse they once ran.