Oliver Twist: Chapter 8 - Summary & Analysis

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Oliver walks to London. He encounters on the Road a strange sort of young Gentleman.

Summary

Oliver's Journey towards London

      Oliver kept on walking till noon without knowing where was he going. After having walked about five miles Oliver sat down in order to rest by the side of a milestone. He learnt by the milestone that London was about seventy miles away. He had often heard that London was a very big city and full of opportunities. He thought that if he had reached there Mr. Bumble would not be able to catch hold of him. Thus he got up and proceeded his journey towards London. He had only a crust of bread to eat and single penny in his picket. He ate that inadequate crust of bread to appease his hunger.

      Oliver walked twenty miles and all the way he got nothing to eat. He had to knock on the doors of houses by roadside and beg for water. Then the night approached and Oliver entered a meadow and laid down there under a hayrick. He soon fell asleep because he was dead tired. In the morning when he got up, he felt so hungry that on reaching the very first village by the roadside, he bought some bread with the single penny left in his pocket. On this second day, he walked about twelve miles.

      Now Oliver was not only breadless but also penniless. He was at the verge of dropping down dead due to hunger and fatigue but a kind fellow and benevolent old woman rescued him by providing him some bread and cheese. On the seventh morning after having left Mr. Sowerberry's shop, he reached a small town, Barnet. Then he sat down, very desolate and tired, upon a doorstep. He was seen by a boy who was of his own age. The boy asked Oliver about his problem. Oliver said that he was very hungry and tired because he had been walking for seven days. The other boy helped him with food, drink, etc., he also promised him to take him to London and provide him with both food and lodging. The name of that boy was Jack Dawkins but he said that his friends called him "the Artful Dodger" or only "the Doger".

Oliver's Arrival at London

      London was not very far from the town Barnet. Now, Jack Dawkins took the charge of Oliver. He told Oliver that in London he would take him to an old man who would provide him everything. They soon arrived in London. Oliver was taken by Jack to a very dirty locality. The street was narrow, full of mud, foul and filth.

Oliver, Introduced to an Old Man Fagin

      Jack Dawkins knocked at the door and there appeared an old man. He was a Jew and his name was Fagin. Dodger introduced Oliver as his friend. Fagin warmly greeted Oliver with a considerable smile. There were few other boys also, sat around a table smoking pipes and drinking liquor. Fagin said Oliver that they were all very glad to see him.

Critical Analysis

      Oliver's journey towards London reminds us of the journey undertaken by David Copperfield from London to Dover though David Copperfield was, written after several years of the publication of Oliver Twist

      The account of Oliver's plight is too moving. He is breadless as well as penniless and finally carried by "the Artful Dodger" to the den of Fagin, a criminal.

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