Oliver was born in a workhouse. At first, it didn’t look like he would survive. However, he finally manages to breathe on his own. His mother asks to see him and then dies.
The surgeon predicts that the child will be difficult. He tells the nurse to give it gruel. He asks where the mother came from. The nurse says she was found lying in the street, her shoes badly worn. Nobody knows who she is. The overseer had her brought there. The surgeon notices no wedding ring and assumes it is the typical story.
Oliver, who looks like any other baby when he is swaddled in a blanket, becomes an orphan and a ward of the parish. He is automatically condemned to a harsh life, at the bottom of the social scale, and doomed to be invisible to his common men.