Oliver is born in a workhouse in a town called Mudfog. After kissing Oliver with "cold white lips," Oliver’s mother dies, leaving her son all alone and at the mercy of the parish authorities. She was found lying in the street after having walked a long way, but nobody knows where she’d come from, and she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, so the doctor assumes that she was unmarried and that Oliver is illegitimate”.
Oliver spends the first eight years of his life at a baby farm in the 'care' of a woman named Mrs. Mann along with other juvenile offenders against the poor laws, he is brought up with little food and few comforts, he was a pale, thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature. Oliver and the other young boys in the workhouse are close to starvation, because they’re given only one ounce of watery gruel for each meal. The boys decide to draw straws to decide who’s going to ask for more to eat. Oliver gets the short end of that stick, and Oliver asks for more.
Oliver’s punishment for asking for more is to be locked in a dark room for a week while Mr. Bumble put out the notice advertising that an orphan is available as an apprentice. Mr Gamfield stops his donkey in front of the workhouse to read a notice posted on the gate. Mr. Gamfield happens to need exactly five pounds to pay his rent. Fortunately for Oliver, the magistrate can’t quite ignore the look of terror on Oliver’s face as he is about to sign the indentures. So, Oliver is spared the fate of becoming a chimneysweep, but the advertising is posted again on the workhouse gate.
Then, Mr. Bumble runs into Mr. Sowerberry, the parish’s undertaker and coffin-maker. Mr. Bumble asks Mr. Sowerberry if he knows anyone who might need an orphan as an apprentice. Mr. Sowerberry, as it turns out, needs an apprentice himself, and agrees to take Oliver starting that evening for a trial period. When Oliver arrives to the Sowerberry house, Mrs. Sowerberry sends Oliver to the basement to...
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