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Summary Chapter 3


Oliver remains locked up for a week. He cries all day and sleeps all night. He is taken to wash by Mr. Bumble, who beats him with a cane. He is taken to the dining room during meals to be publicaly flogged as an example. At prayer time, he joins the others—and he serves as a warning about following the devil’s path of sin and vice.

Mr. Gamfield, a chimney sweeper, sees the bill about Oliver Twist. He is in debt and could use five pounds. One of the board members sees his interest, and Mr. Gamfield tells him he could use an apprentice. The board member takes him before the board.

The board members don’t approve, as it is a dangerous job. Mr. Gamfield has already caused three or four children’s deaths. However, the board then says they won’t give him Oliver for five pounds, only three pounds ten. He tries to bargain them up to three pounds fifteen, but finally agrees to their amount.

Mr. Bumble releases Oliver, gives him a clean shirt, and some food. Oliver believes he is about to be executed. Mr. Bumble tells Oliver he is fortunate to be made an apprentice since he is a naughty child that no one loves. He tells Oliver to say he is happy about becoming an apprentice when he is presented to the magistrate.

The magistrate, who is to sign Oliver’s indentures, notices the terrified look on Oliver’s face. He tells Mr. Bumble, who keeps pinching Oliver, to get away from him. He asks Oliver what the matter is. Oliver begs not to make him an apprentice to this awful man (Mr. Gamfield, whom Oliver can tell is a cruel person). Mr. Bumble admonishes Oliver, but the magistrate tells him to be quiet—which astonishes the beadle.

The magistrate refuses to sign Oliver’s indentures. He tells them to bring Oliver back to the workhouse and treat him kindly. Mr. Bumble and the board member are convinced now in particular that Oliver is doomed to be hung, drawn, and quartered.

Oliver is put back up as an apprentice. 

Charles Dickens