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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Noah reaches the workhouse and relates the tale of woe to Mr. Bumble with tears and words of exaggeration. Noah, through his antics and lamentations, attracts the attention of the man in the white waistcoat too. The gentleman takes pity on Noah and supports him in accusing Oliver. Both he and the beadle decide to punish Oliver for his audacity. Mr. Bumble accompanies Noah to the house of the undertaker and orders Oliver to open the door of his room. Injured and insulted, the boy refuses to obey the commands of the beadle. Mr. Bumble is shocked. He blames Mrs. Sowerberry for overfeeding him. Mr. Sowerberry arrives. He also hears the exaggerated story of the cruelty of Oliver and the misery of Noah. He unlocks the door of the cellar and gives Oliver a good beating after reprimanding him. Thus battered and humiliated, Oliver cries his heart out in the cell. At the stroke of dawn, with a little bundle under his arms, he escapes out of the house. While on the run, he passes by the farm workhouse and meets his friend, Dick. The younger boy looks ill and tells his friend about his impending death. Oliver gives him hope and Dick blesses him before bidding him goodbye.
In this chapter we observe how an innocent boy like Oliver, surrounded and pressured by evil, emerges stronger to fight for his rights. Even though everyone falsely accuses him and punishes him unjustly, he doesn't display bitterness or hatred for the people around him. Burdened with misery, he doesn't forget to wish his friend Dick all the best. He forgets the curses and torture inflicted on him by the staff of the workhouse and the members of the house of Mr. Sowerberry. He only remembers and cherishes the blessings of his little friend.
Unmindful of pain or hunger, Oliver walks along the way to cover a distance of eighty miles to reach London. Feeling cold and stiff, after walking for seven days, he reaches the town of Barnet. Unable to walk any longer, he sits down on a doorstep. John Dawkins comes forward to talk to him and offers him a meal of bread, ham and beer. He hears the sorrowful tale of Oliver and offers to take him to London. On reaching the house near Field Lane, he is welcomed by an old man, Fagin, and his associates. Fagin gives him a hearty meal and provides him a bed of sack. Tired and exhausted, Oliver falls down to sleep.
Oliver shows courage and endurance to reach his place of destination. Untainted by the world of corruption, he fails to suspect the character of John Dawkins. Hungry for love and company, he is taken in by the kind words of the youth.
Through the character of the Artful Dodger, Dickens highlights crudity and cunning. The youth strikes a contrast to Oliver who is refined and innocent. Both Dawkins and Oliver are kind hearted, but with a little difference. While Oliver shows disinterested kindness, Dodger is kind with a motive. The youth is happy to lure one more innocent boy into the grip of the underworld.