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Summary Chapter 8


Oliver runs for several miles, fearing pursuit. He rests after a while and tries to decide where he should go. He decides to go to London, which is a large city he can hide in and never be found. He had heard there were more opportunities for a person to make their way.

The journey is long. Oliver begins to feel sick the second day. When he tries to beg, he is driven off or ignored. However, two benevolent souls take pity on him and give him food.

On the seventh day, he arrives in the town of Barnet. The town seems deserted, but gradually it comes to life. People stare at Oliver but don’t approach him. He is too tired to beg.

A boy about his age and dressed in adult clothing stares at Oliver before asking what is wrong. Oliver tells him he has been walking for seven days, and he is very hungry and tired. The boy takes Oliver to an inn and buys some food for them. He asks Oliver where he is going, whether he has money or lodgings, and whether he has a place to sleep. Oliver tells the boy he is going to London—and he doesn’t have money, lodgings, or a place to sleep.

The boy, whose name is Jack Dawkins, tells Oliver he lives in London and knows someplace that Oliver can stay. Oliver gratefully takes him up on the offer. Dawkins describes the gentleman who has the shelter as “artful”. This makes Oliver decide that he should be careful and cut acquaintances with this man if he proves dishonest.

Dawkins doesn’t want to enter London before nightfall. He takes Oliver to a very dirty, smelly neighborhood crawling with children and drunk adults. Oliver has more misgivings and considers running away. However, Dawkins pushes Oliver into a building. He introduces Oliver after giving the password.

There are several boys Oliver’s age. The Jewish man Dawkins introduces Oliver to is named Mr. Fagin. Oliver notices a pile of handkerchiefs. Fagin tells him they are out to be laundered. Oliver is served dinner and given a place to sleep. 

Charles Dickens