Of course right after I posted the previous post, my dad walked in. Anyway, his favorite book growing up was Oliver Twist. My dad doesn’t really read these days.
So Oliver is an orphan. His mother died in childbirth, and his father is completely missing from his life. Due to the Poor Laws in England during that time, Oliver ends up in a work house as a young boy. The workhouse is not a pleasant place, and all the boys are constantly half-starved. When Oliver chooses the short straw and asks for more gruel, he is farmed out as an apprentice.
He ends up with an undertaker Mr. Sowerberry. Unfortunately Mrs. Sowerberry takes quite a dislike to Oliver, as does Noah Claypole another apprentice. Eventually Noah provokes Oliver into attacking him by insulting his dead mother. After being beat by all in the house, Oliver runs away. He meets Artful Dodger and falls in with a gang of thieves headed by Bill Fagin with cohorts Bill Sykes and Nancy. These group of boys are taught the tricks of the trade. Soon after arriving Oliver gets taken out on an assignment with two other boys. Although he doesn’t pick any pockets, he is caught when the other boys run after they commit the crime. Oliver is brought up on criminal charges and cleared; but he was so ill that he fainted. The man who had been wronged, Mr. Brownlow, took him home.
The man nursed Oliver back to health; however Fagin had Oliver kidnapped afraid that he would spill the beans. In order to fully induct Oliver into their ways, Fagin has Oliver participate in a burglary. However, Oliver ends up being shot. The house belonged to Rose Maylie, who nurse Oliver back to health believing that he is good.
Meanwhile a man named Monk is tracking Oliver down. Nancy who feels guilty about the part she has played in helping to kidnap Oliver warns Mr. Brownlow and Rose. When she is discover, Bill kills her in a fit of rage. Monk is caught. As it turns out, he is Oliver’s half brother. Their father did not love Monk’s mother. Oliver’s mother’s name was Agnes who was Rose’s sister. When Agnes realized she was pregnant, her father took she and Rose and moved elsewhere to hide her shame.
Mr. Brownlow, who was a friend of Oliver’s father, asks Oliver to give half his inheritance to Monk, which he does. Of course leopards don’t change their spots. Monk ends up dying in an American prison having squandered his money and returning to a life of crime.
Well, my dad liked this book because of the criminal characters. He couldn’t remember the name of this book. All he knew is that it was the one with Bill Fagin and Artful Dodger. Hmm. I guess that sort of life would appeal to a young boy. It’s really funny that this was the book my dad would chose because lack of father is a big part of this book. As Oliver was illegitimate, he wouldn’t have been entitled to inherit anything under English law. In fact he would have been a social outcast. Monk was hell bent on destroying Oliver because he felt he didn’t have his father’s love.
Fathers, Love thy children. Thus sayeth Bluestocking. Have a good day!!!