Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 20


Oliver is pleased and surprised by being given a pair of new shoes. He hopes this means they will let him go. He becomes alarmed when Fagin tells him he is to go to Mr. Sikes house.

Fagin is vexed when Oliver doesn’t show any interest in why he is being sent to Sikes’ house. Oliver is too anxious to ask. Later, Fagin tells Oliver to say nothing and to do as he is told.

Oliver assumes he is to become a houseboy for Mr. Sikes. Fagin has left a book for Oliver to read about murderers and their crimes. Oliver becomes more frightened. He prays to God to spare him this fate, to kill him instead. He prays to be rescued.

Nancy enters, looking pale and trembling. She begins laughing hysterically. She tells him he is to go with her.

Oliver has considered running away once he is outside. Nancy has guessed his intentions and tells him now is not the time for escape. She promises to help him. If he doesn’t do as he is told, it will mean both of their deaths. She shows him her bruises, which resulted from her trying to help him. She tells him they aren’t going to harm him, and he shouldn’t blame himself for the things he is forced to do.

They arrive at Sikes’. Oliver considers running away, but he is afraid for Nancy. Sikes’ is in a better mood. He shows Oliver how to load a gun. Then he presses the gun to Oliver’s head and says that if he speaks out of turn, he will die. Nancy explains that Sikes will kill Oliver if he double-crosses him.

Oliver has no great appetite at supper, but he is able to sleep. When he wakes, it is raining. It is tea time. Oliver gets prepared and hurriedly eats breakfast. Sikes shows Oliver the gun one more time, and then they leave.  

Charles Dickens