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Summary Chapter 6

 

Oliver gets a lot of experience during a measles epidemic, which claims the lives of many infants. Oliver leads the funeral processions.

This gives him the opportunity to observe how people handle themselves during their trials. He admires how people can be weeping one minute and composed the next.

Noah abuses Oliver worse than ever, being jealous that Oliver got promoted over him. Charlotte treats Oliver badly because she likes Noah. Mrs. Sowerberry resents him because her husband likes him.

One day, while they are eating in the kitchen, Noah is again tormenting Oliver. When Oliver fails to cry, Noah starts making fun of Oliver’s mother. This hits a nerve. Noah continues, seeing Oliver’s reaction, to say that Oliver’s mother was rotten—and it is just as well that she died. Oliver overturns the table, seizes Noah by the throat, and shakes him. Noah becomes frightened and calls for help.

Charlotte and Mrs. Sowerberry come to Noah’s rescue and start to beat on Oliver. Noah joins in the pummeling. They lock Oliver in the dust cellar.

Mrs. Sowerberry cries because they had almost gotten murdered. They believe that workhouse orphans are born bad. They pity Noah, who nearly fell victim to Oliver’s murderous wrath.

Mrs. Sowerberry sends Noah to fetch Mr. Bumble, fearing that Oliver will kick the door down and kill them all.  

Charles Dickens