The Father of the Marshalsea’s youngest daughter, who had been born inside the prison, is named Amy Dorrit—known as Little Dorrit. The turnkey is her godfather. He becomes fond of her, and she equally fond of him.
The child realized when she was very young that her father was a prisoner within the walls in which they lived, and he could not stray as she could beyond the bars. She began to pity her father and siblings. She begins to yearn for a life outside of the prison.
The turnkey has instructed her to call him Bob. He used to take her out on excursions to the fields. He decides to make her his heir, but he wishes to make sure that she gets the money—and no one else that is tied to her by family or marriage can.
She grows to womanhood and becomes, by her sense of responsibility to her family, head of the family—particularly after her mother’s death. She starts getting herself and her siblings schooled.
When her sister Fanny wishes to learn how to dance from an imprisoned dance teacher, Little Dorrit approaches the man with an offer. He agrees to teach Fanny for free. Fanny Dorrit makes wonderful progress, and the man continues his instruction even after he is freed.
Amy Dorrit approaches an imprisoned milliner to learn needlework for herself.
Her uncle, who had been ruined by her father, takes in Fanny Dorrit and gets her work as a dancer at the theater where he plays the clarinet.
Amy keeps many secret from her father. He doesn’t know that she has a job. He thinks she goes out to tend to her uncle. She convinces her father to allow Fanny to live on the outside with her uncle.
Her brother’s future is harder to secure. He is rather lazy by nature. Nobody came into the prison who could train him in a useful vocation.
Bob gets him work in an attorney’s office. After six months, the brother decides it isn’t for him. The brother, who’s nicknamed Tip, tries many trades and always quits them—preferring the prison walls.
Finally, Amy saves enough to send him to Canada to make his fortune. He only gets as far as Liverpool and walks back to the prison. He finally finds work for himself, though it seems to be shady. He finally returns to the prison as a genuine prisoner, in debt himself. Little Dorrit begs her brother not to tell their father. He doesn’t understand why but agrees.
Amy Dorrit keeps it a secret from people she meets on the outside about where she lives. She becomes more timid in appearance as a result. However, Arthur Clennam observers her enter Marshalsea one night.